Water and sanitation minister Lindiwe Sisulu elaborates on Covid-19 socioeconomic relief interventions during a media briefing in Pretoria on April 29 2020. Picture: GCIS/JAIRUS MMUTLE
Water and sanitation minister Lindiwe Sisulu elaborates on Covid-19 socioeconomic relief interventions during a media briefing in Pretoria on April 29 2020. Picture: GCIS/JAIRUS MMUTLE

Close to 17,000 water tanks have been delivered around the country to communities in need during the Covid-19 pandemic and are being filled on a regular basis, water and sanitation minister Lindiwe Sisulu said on Wednesday.

Sisulu said R306m has been put into the operation so far. The department is in talks with the National Treasury for a further R831m to continue the intervention.

With regular hand-washing and maximum hygiene being recommended as a way to ward off the coronavirus, water is being provided to people living in informal settlements and water-deprived communities. There are also fears of a rapid spread of infections in highly dense informal settlements.

Sisulu said there had been a problem with installation of some of the tanks when they were first rolled out because they needed to be mounted and the materials, such as bricks, cement and taps, were not available because of the lockdown regulations that prohibited the sale of goods not deemed by the government as essential. 

These restrictions will be lifted and the minister has called on municipalities, which are responsible for installing the tanks, to act urgently.

Sisulu said some people are stealing tanks and warned that strong action will be taken against them.

“If you are found stealing a tank we will ask for maximum sentence … because you are taking away peoples lives,” the minister said.

The minister said there are some rural areas which her department is unable to reach or have been overlooked. She urged people in those areas to contact the government so they can be located. 

quintalg@businesslive.co.za

Would you like to comment on this article or view other readers' comments?
Register (it’s quick and free) or sign in now.

Speech Bubbles

Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.