The department of human settlements, water and sanitation will increase the provision of water and sanitation in high-density public areas, informal settlements and rural areas in response to the novel coronavirus outbreak in South Africa.
On Monday, Minister of Human Settlements, Water and Sanitation Lindiwe Sisulu announced the intervention as a measure to curb the further spread of the virus.
At the time of publication, there were 62 confirmed cases in South Africa and more were under investigation.
In a statement, Sisulu appealed to South Africans to wash their hands regularly but to use water sparingly to ensure that everyone has their share.
The department will provide water tanks and standpipes to increase access to water for residents in rural areas and informal settlements, and provide water tanks and sanitisers in public spaces, including taxi ranks, trains and bus stations, and other areas where people congregate.
“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.
“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.”
President Cyril Ramaphosa declared the outbreak a national disaster on Sunday evening.
He announced drastic response measures to prevent the further spread of the virus, including travel bans and the closure of several ports of entry.