The real reason President Cyril Ramaphosa extended the lockdown
The lack of compliance to Covid-19 lockdown measures in the country’s townships and informal settlements has reportedly been cited as one of the reasons President Cyril Ramaphosa decided to extend the lockdown.
The continued lack of compliance with regulations in the country’s townships and informal settlements is one of the major contributing factors that led to President Cyril Ramaphosa extending the lockdown until the end of this month.
Sunday World has established that the government was grappling with enforcing social distancing in densely populated areas and there were fears townships were increasingly becoming the next target for the spread of the coronavirus, as the government embarks on large-scale testing and screening throughout the country.
A leaked document on the assessment of compliance in townships of the country’s economic hub, Gauteng, shows that areas of concern with regards to lack of compliance in Johannesburg included Diepsloot, Zandspruit, Baragwanath taxi rank, Soweto, Hillbrow and Alexandra.
In Ekurhuleni, lack of compliance was most prevalent in Tembisa, Daveyton and Kwathema. Mamelodi, Atteridgeville, Soshanguve, Sunnyside and Ga-rankuwa in Tshwane were also notorious for not following lockdown regulations.
This week, for the first time, Gauteng Premier David Makhura gave a regional breakdown of positive cases of Covid-19 in the province, which is the epicentre of the virus. Johannesburg had 446 cases, while there were 120 cases in Ekurhuleni and Tshwane had 90 cases.
The West Rand had 12 cases, Sedibeng six, while 127 cases were unallocated. In total Gauteng has 801 Covid-19 cases with three deaths recorded.
Gauteng MEC for health Bandile Masuku said: “There are a myriad of reasons [for lack of compliance], importantly, lack of adequate home space to stay indoors. How do more than five individuals stay put in a shack for 24 hours? They don’t even have a yard. How do we expect families who don’t have money for groceries to stay in their houses without going out to the shops?
“We are alive to these realities. Some concepts are First World in origin, and they are not easily implementable in our circumstances.”
The Gauteng City-region Observatory March 2020 Map of the Month report shows some of impediments to social distancing and observing good personal hygiene included “crowded living conditions, the sharing of water and toilet facilities, dependence on public health-care facilities, limited access to communication tools and reliance on public transport”.
Another MEC in the province, speaking on condition of anonymity, said before Ramaphosa extended the lockdown, there were debates that the only provinces that are hardest hit by the virus – Gauteng, Western Cape, Kwazulu-natal and Free State – should remain under lockdown.
“But this was opposed, [the] argument being that Gauteng is interlinked to all the eight provinces.”