A spokesperson for the ministry of Human Settlements, Water and Sanitation on Tuesday has said the department will instal more water tanks and stand pipes in informal settlements as a matter of urgency to curb the spread of COVID-19 in these high-density areas.
More water infrastructure will also be made available in rural areas, and water tanks and hand sanitiser will be provided in high-density public spaces, such as stations and taxi ranks, as well as informal settlements.
Identifying areas in need of more water points
Ministerial spokesperson McIntosh Polela said departmental directors-general met on Tuesday morning to identify the areas in greatest need for more water points.
“We are going to get a report shortly on what those are and then we can start implementing,” Polela said.
“It has to be done as a matter of urgency.”
Lindiwe Sisulu expresses concern
Human Settlements, Water and Sanitation Minister Lindiwe Sisulu said it was a concern that the virus could spread rapidly through informal settlements.
“The coronavirus thrives in conditions where people are in close contact,” the ministry said.
“The minister is concerned that people living in the informal settlements are at high risk of contracting and spreading the virus. She has therefore instructed her department to urgently find other solutions that will prevent the spread of the virus in such areas.”
President Cyril Ramaphosa pinpointed taxi ranks and informal settlements as the government’s main concern as he announced stringent measures to curb the spread of the virus that has killed more than 7 000 people worldwide.
The current number of confirmed infections in South Africa stands at 62.
Palela said the provision of more water infrastructure was a national initiative, but the department would work with local authorities as this could speed up the process.
— By African News Agency (ANA); Editing by Naomi Mackay