Covid-19: Poor living conditions prevent social distancing - Gauteng MEC
Pretoria - Gauteng MEC for Economic Development, Agriculture and Environment Morakane Mosupyoe says that poor conditions under which people live make them fail to socially distance.
According to her, people were not necessarily defiant over the Covid-19 regulations, but were forced by their poor living conditions to fail to abide by the restrictive regulations.
She expressed the sentiment during her visit to a congested informal settlement called Marikana, near Hammanskraal.
Accompanied by a team of officials, Mosupyoe walked from house to house, handing out 500ml hand sanitisers to needy residents.
She also advised them on how to prevent the spread of coronavirus infections by practising good hygiene, such as the washing of hands for at least 20 seconds.
Many in the settlement could be spotted roaming the streets, while others stood outside their shacks without wearing face masks in contravention of the government's regulations.
Mosupyoe said: "This is just my personal opinion. I personally don't believe that people are being defiant. Imagine if people live in a house (shack) like this and there are 14 or 15 of them?
"How do you expect them to do what the regulation is saying? I think we need to be humane and hence we are bringing such an intervention."
According to her, people didn't want to intentionally die or expose themselves to danger, but "it is just the circumstances they find themselves in".
Mosupyoe said the purpose of her visit was part of the government's sanitisation programme targeting dishing out hand sanitisers to between 50 000 and 60 000 households across the province.
In the City of Tshwane, the programme was rolled out in Marikana and Soshanguve.
"We started in Alexandra hostels while we were still under level 5 of the lockdown. The programme has adjusted a little bit now that we have data from the department of health. We are able to target places which they would describe as hot spots," she said.
Donned in white coats, some officials carried on their backs containers called knapsack sprayers, which were full of sanitisers.
As they moved from house to house they refilled containers provided by residents with 500ml hand sanitisers.
Others interacted with recipients, asking them whether they have access to food or whether there was a member of their households receiving government social grants.
They then jotted down details provided by residents regarding their welfare status.
One of the residents Martha Kgomo told them she was not getting food parcels from the government and that none of her household members were working.
Mosupyoe said: "Part of what we are doing by taking people's numbers is to make sure where there is a need for intervention by the social development department. We can send the department to bring the relief that they offer to communities."