Picture: Jose Luis Gonzalez/Reuters
Picture: Jose Luis Gonzalez/Reuters

Covid-19: Joburg prepares burial spaces

By Mayibongwe Maqhina Time of article published May 15, 2020

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Johannesburg - The City of Joburg is leaving nothing to chance when it comes to burials in anticipation of more deaths over the next coming months as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.

This was revealed by mayor Geoff Makhubo when he made a presentation to parliamentary committees yesterday.

There is “517 hectares of burial space identified,” read Makhubo’s presentation.

Makhubo added that the city has the highest number of confirmed cases in Gauteng, with 1057 infections.

A total of 81% of patients with confirmed cases have recovered as of March 5 and 0.8% mortality rate has been recorded.

“A lower mortality rate, higher recovery rate and fewer active cases is what the City of Johannesburg has achieved during lockdown,” he said.

He also said the city had so far screened 2239 employees and 107 tested positive.

The city has ensured that a third of its workforce (13969) and 1885 staffers above the age of 60, with a presence of underlying diseases, work from home.

Makhubo said the city needed to establish the effect it would have when certain staff in JMPD are requested to remain home.

The mayor further told MPs about measures to ensure water disruption is minimised as extra teams have been put in place.

A total of 926 tanks were delivered to improve water provision. Up to 1421 chemical toilets have been delivered to informal settlements.

Makhubo said 65 market, office and transport facilities were identified for deep cleaning and 61 deep cleaning operations were already completed.

He also said the city and the Gauteng provincial government were working on a sanitation pilot project at Bara taxi rank.

“The lessons learnt will be used to relook Rea Vaya and Metrobus bus stops. The intention is to ensure the entire public transport system is reorganised to minimise the spread of Covid-19 but deliver much-needed services.”

Makhubo highlighted that they have identified 167 facilities for isolation and/or quarantine use and eight were used for homeless shelters.

“An additional budget has been requested to partition and ensure the relevant services are available.”

He stated that R573.7 million had been set aside for transitional relocation accommodation of households at Alexandra, Madala Sports Field, Marlboro, Linksfield and Lufhereng for de- densification of informal settlements.

Meanwhile, the City of Cape Town has undertaken various measures to stop the spread of the virus.

In his report to the MPs, corporate services executive director Craig Kesson said taxi ranks were reduced from 61 to 40 and MyCiti stations from 38 to 22, among others.

Councillor Zahid Badroodien said the City has 6441 confirmed coronavirus cases and 113 deaths.

He also defended criticism that the council hasn’t met to approve an intervention on Covid-19 since March 26.

“Council agreed to go into recess and allowed the mayor to have executive powers. Councillors have not been on holiday,” he said.

Political Bureau

* For the latest on the Covid-19 outbreak visit IOL's #Coronavirus trend page

** If you think you have been exposed to the Covid-19 virus, please call the government's 24-hour hotline on 0800 029 999 or go to SA Coronavirus for more information.

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