How SA’s car companies are helping to rebuild flood-stricken KZN

  • Car companies have donated millions of rands to aid KZN flood victims.
  • Donations will be used to provide food, water and sanitisation care packs.
  • Monies are also being used to repair water-damaged educational facilities.
  • For motoring news, go to Wheels24

It’s been a month since KwaZulu-Natal experienced one of its worst floods in history, as many parts of the province turned into great lakes due to relentless rainfall. Lives lost, businesses destroyed, futures shattered.

Toyota South Africa Motors’ car factory south of Durban was ravaged. It’s estimated that the company will lose 45 000 vehicles due to the flood and downtime. This couldn’t have come at a more challenging time, as the auto industry battles with severe stock shortages due to a lack of semiconductors and raw materials.

However, several leading car brands have risen to the occasion to donate millions in cash and kind to aid in relief efforts in Durban and surrounding areas.

Chery donates to assist with KZN flood

Chery donates to assist with KZN flood

1. Drinking water from Chery with love

Chinese state-owned Chery is back in South Africa with a vengeance as a fully-fledged importer, and it’s been racking up sales wins. Each month, the car company has sold more than 500 new cars since the Chery Tiggo 4 Pro launch late last year.

A large delivery truck filled with water, blankets and food left the Chery South Africa head office in Johannesburg, bound for KwaZulu-Natal. The shipment of water in easily transportable containers, blankets, and food arrived at Chery dealerships in Durban and surrounds. The dealers used their own delivery infrastructure and staff drivers and even got customers involved in delivering water to needy communities, nursing homes and clinics.

READ: Priced to sell – Chery Tiggo 7 Pro has landed in SA – here’s everything we know

Tony Liu, Executive Deputy General Manager of Chery South Africa, explains that they sprang into action after reading about the continued lack of clean water in parts of KwaZulu-Natal worst affected by the floods that started on 8 April this year.

“We realised that we have a network of over 55 dealers and an even-wider network of partners, suppliers, colleagues and friends that we could call upon. So, with seed donation from Chery South Africa, we invited everyone in our network to join the cause. They surprised us with their speed of action and selfless generosity,” adds Jay Jay Botes, National Sales Manager of Chery South Africa.

So far, Chery has donated more than R300 000 in purified water. It has transported this water from Jo’burg to Durban in collaboration with its logistics partner VDS, who offered free use of one of its largest trucks and the fuel to power it.

Ford donates to assist with KZN flood

Ford donates to assist with KZN flood

2. Ford sends thousands of food hampers

To help with relief efforts in KZN, Ford Motor Company Fund has provided a R370 000 disaster relief grant to the aid organisation Gift of the Givers to assist communities worst hit by the floods.

The Ford Motor Company Fund is the philanthropic arm of Ford Motor Company. Neale Hill, President of Ford Motor Company Africa, says, “The scale of this disaster has been almost beyond description. We knew immediately that we had to help the victims, and Gift of the Givers has shown that it’s agile and effective in dealing with such tragedies.”

READ: How much it costs to replace tyres if you buy one of SA’s 5 most popular vehicles

Hill explains that the R370 000 grant is used for humanitarian relief aid to flood-stricken communities. The support, which comprises food parcels, water, mattresses, blankets and care packs, is being distributed to communities displaced and stricken by the devastating deluge of water.

Gift of the Givers will, in addition, provide dozens of food hampers to displaced Ford employees in KwaZulu Natal. Ford further assists dealerships in the affected areas directly through grocery vouchers and fresh water – and has provided vehicles to organisations needing mobility to provide relief.

Badr Kazi, the Gift of the Givers Foundation Director, says, “The generous donation endowed by Ford is earmarked for much-needed humanitarian relief aid to flood-stricken communities and families in KZN. We thank Ford for their continued support and empathy toward the plight of our most vulnerable.”

Hyundai SA's Gideon Jansen van Rensburg (l), Dr Im

Hyundai SA’s Gideon Jansen van Rensburg (l), Gift of the Givers Dr Imtiaz Sooliman, Motus SA’s Berenice Francis (r)

3. Hyundai and Motus send millions to help the needy

Hyundai Automotive South Africa and Hyundai Motor Company of South Korea have donated R1.5 million towards relief efforts for residents of KwaZulu-Natal.

Hyundai handed the donation in the form of a cheque to the Gift of the Givers Foundation at the Hyundai Umhlanga dealership. At the same handover, another donation of R1.5 million rand was handed to the Gift of the Givers by Motus Corporation, the holding company of Hyundai Automotive SA, which brings the total contribution to R3 million.

The bulk of the donated money will acquire material to help flood victims rebuild homes and places of residence that were damaged or washed away.

READ: Unlikely vehicles that are turned into ‘Glamper Vans’: Sleep under the stars in style

“The losses and suffering due to the floods in KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) are of a scale unseen in recent times in South Africa. There was no doubt that we had to contribute to the relief effort in the province by this donation to Gift of the Givers, which has vast experience and many successes in relief and rebuilding operations of this kind,” says Niall Lynch, CEO of Hyundai Automotive SA.

“Hyundai Motor Company of South Korea is equally concerned about the KZN disaster and has combined with us to make this contribution possible. We trust that the funds donated in this collaborative effort will be put to good use to improve the lives and circumstances of people who have lost homes, all possessions and modes of transport,” says Lynch.

Hyundai Automotive SA, also in combination with Hyundai Motor Company of Korea, previously donated five H-100 Bakkies and an H-1 nine-seater bus to the Gift of the Givers as part of its social investment to assist with the distribution of food and essential items in communities that were affected by the Covid-19 pandemic that’s now entering its fifth wave in SA.

Mercedes-Benz C 400 4MATIC Coupé, designo hyazint

Mercedes-Benz C 400 4MATIC Coupe

4. Mercedes-Benz writes a big cheque

Mercedes-Benz South Africa Limited (MBSA) has also joined forces with the Gift of the Givers Foundation to provide humanitarian aid to victims of the recent floods in KZN. This donation, valued at R3 million, will be channelled to provide warm meals, food parcels, water, and emergency education essentials to the most severely affected communities.

Commenting on this donation, MBSA Executive Director Human Resources and Corporate Affairs, Abey Kgotle, said: “Our contribution towards the flood disaster initiatives demonstrates our commitment as a responsible corporate citizen extends beyond our manufacturing operations. With solid partnerships like the one forged with the Gift of The Givers Foundation, we will continue to serve our communities and hope those affected will emerge even stronger than before.”

READ: Fit for royalty – Mercedes-Benz and Palace Skateboards collab to create four epic cars

A vital aspect of the MBSA Corporate Social Investment (CSI) portfolio is to serve the communities through Community Upliftment initiatives and education. To this end, Gift of the Givers will distribute food parcels inclusive of staple foods and non-perishables and bottled water to affected families. Through MBSA’s donation, the Gift of the Givers will further provide school-going children with hygiene packs, school uniforms, school shoes and essential stationery supplies to continue education.

MBSA has contributed over R4 million to the Gift of the Givers Foundation’s ongoing disaster relief initiatives.

Steffen Knapp

Steffen Knapp is the head of Volkswagen South Africa.

5. VWSA gives millions to help KZN rise from the flood

Volkswagen Group South Africa (VWSA) has donated R2 million to the Gift of the Givers Foundation to support the organisation’s efforts to provide disaster relief and food aid to the victims of the devastating floods.

The humanitarian organisation will utilise the donation to support distressed people and communities through relief aid such as water, food, and care packs. Money will also go towards funding repairing damaged infrastructure, schools, early childhood development centres and clinics in affected areas.

READ: 5 Things you need to know about the Ford EcoSport fighter, the Volkswagen Taigo

VWSA encourages its employees to contribute to Gift of the Givers’ efforts through an online platform for donations to the organisation. “Our company believes in solidarity in a crisis, especially when a humanitarian emergency requires swift action to aid vulnerable people and communities,” says Nonkqubela Maliza, Director of Corporate and Government Affairs at VWSA.

“Gift of the Givers is a professional organisation when it comes to providing such humanitarian aid; they have people on the ground who will ensure that relief aid is urgently offered where it is needed most. VWSA sends its heartfelt condolences to the bereaved families and wishes those injured during the floods a speedy recovery.”