'Now I am able to wear a mask': hostel residents get help to fight Covid-19
“Now I feel happy that I am even able to wear a mask. I used to use a cloth and wrap it around my face. I really appreciate what they have done.”
That was the reaction by Mamelodi hostel resident Frank Khumalo as government ramps up efforts to combat the spread of Covid-19.
Human settlements, water and sanitation minister Lindiwe Sisulu visited the hostels on Thursday to inspect temporary residential units being built to reduce the number of occupants in the hostel to combat the spread of the virus.
Daniel Sello, chairperson of the hostel, accepted the donations and said they would assist in the fight against the pandemic.
“Our history is lengthy and painful. Today we are thankful that we are being recognised and visited. We are happy with the project but we are just saying, they must not do what they did before. We hope that now they will do the right thing and allocate the units to the right people,” he said.
Sello said the project needed to be safeguarded against criminals to ensure that it succeeded in helping to curb the pandemic.
“There are major problems that might disturb this project, crime in the community. There are criminals who destroy projects by corruption. We just hope there will be officials who will safeguard this project so that it doesn't fail,” he said.
Khumalo said he was happy that the minister said women should be prioritised. The 35-year-old was also happy to have finally received a mask to protect himself from the virus.
Sisulu said the decongesting of informal settlements would ensure that communities had enough space to practise social distancing. She welcomed the water storage tanks and 5,000 face masks donated by the Danish embassy.
“Some tanks will be taken to schools with water problems. It is our intention with the minister of education that we reopen as many schools as soon as possible. We will take the rest of the tanks to schools where there are water problems so that learners can also practise good hygiene,” she said.
Sisulu said the temporary structures must become an opportunity to build proper structures for the community.
“We will continue to build. When we are done we will then build proper houses. I am begging that let us start with women because they are the ones taking care of our children,” she said.