People in densely populated areas to be moved to 'safer areas'

A group of refugees, who have been at loggerheads with Cape Town law enforcement authorities over plans to move them from the CBD, might need to to cave in to the plans to move them to a safe location due to the coronavirus pandemic.
A group of refugees, who have been at loggerheads with Cape Town law enforcement authorities over plans to move them from the CBD, might need to to cave in to the plans to move them to a safe location due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Image: Philani Nombembe

People in highly populated areas such as informal settlements and townships would soon be asked to move to other government-provided areas. 

As the country prepares for a national lockdown to try and curb the spread of coronavirus on Thursday night, the government is facing a challenge of providing services in areas that are congested. 

These areas would make it impossible for the health services, among others, to monitor the spread of the virus and also to reach people should they need emergency services due to contracting the virus. 

According to human settlements, water and sanitation minister Lindiwe Sisulu, provision of water and sanitation is also a challenge in these areas, which have been identified in Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal and the Eastern Cape.

To counter  this, the government has identified areas where they would  move them in the interim. 

“The biggest challenge would be when this virus gets into our densely populated areas, and these are the informal settlements. How are we going to be able to trace this and how are we going to be able to avoid the quick spread of the virus?” Sisulu asked. 

“We have, with the help of CSIR, used a heat map to identify areas where we have serious conditions and we have identified 29 areas of priority in our informal settlements. These are areas we will need to go in and try and see if it is not possible to de-densify but also make sure that we provide all necessary sanitation to them.”

Sisulu said they are in talks with the provinces that have highly densified informal settlements to finalise plans on moving people around. “We would like to appeal to the people who live in these densely populated areas to allow us to work with them to try and de-densify these areas,” Sisulu said.

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