Department directed to ensure rural areas provided with water tanks
Sisulu has appealed to South Africans to wash their hands regularly, while at the same time, using water sparingly, to ensure that everyone has their share.Devdiscourse News Desk | Pretoria | Updated: 17-03-2020 15:07 IST | Created: 17-03-2020 15:07 IST
The Minister of Human Settlements, Water and Sanitation, Lindiwe Sisulu, has directed the department to increase the provision of water and sanitation in high-density public areas, informal settlements and rural areas in response to the Coronavirus pandemic.
In response to the declaration of Coronavirus (COVID-19) as a national disaster by President Cyril Ramaphosa, Sisulu has directed the department to ensure that rural areas and informal settlements are provided with water tanks and standpipes to increase access to water for residents.
Sisulu said she is concerned that people living in the informal settlements are at high risk of contracting and spreading the virus amongst one another.
She said she has instructed her department to urgently find other solutions that will prevent the spread of the virus in such areas.
"We find ourselves in an unfortunate situation, where we are called upon to respond to this pandemic. We commit ourselves to do everything possible to respond to the urgent needs of our people through the provision of water and sanitation, as we confront the possible spread of the virus," Sisulu said.
In support of the measures which have been put in place to minimize and curb the spread of the virus, the department will also provide water tanks and sanitizers in public spaces including taxi ranks, train and bus stations, and other areas where people congregate.
President Cyril Ramaphosa announced on Sunday interventions to curb the spread of COVID-19 in South Africa. These include closing schools from Wednesday, 18 March; closing 35 ports of entry and imposing a travel ban on foreign nationals from countries hardest hit by the Coronavirus pandemic.
Other interventions include the prohibition of social gatherings of more than 100 people and cancellation of mass celebrations of upcoming national days such as Human Rights Day and other large government events.
The measures were the outcome of an emergency Cabinet meeting held on Sunday in Pretoria.
Sisulu has appealed to South Africans to wash their hands regularly, while at the same time, using water sparingly, to ensure that everyone has their share.
"We call upon everyone in the human settlements, water, and sanitation sector to work with government in responding to the Coronavirus. We also appeal to residents where we will be providing services to work with our officials. This is a matter which requires all of us to play our role in order to succeed," the Minister said.
(With Inputs from South African Government Press Release)