Plan to dampen Khayelitsha corona hotspots underway

Leaders of informal settlements say that most informal settlements in Cape Town do not have adequate services. Archive photo by Lilita Gcwabe

Khayelitsha is the worst affected township in South Africa’s epicentre of the coronavirus pandemic with infections spreading through residential clusters or hotspots.

A plan to deal with and respond to Khayelitsha hotspots was tabled in a meeting between the Department for Community Safety in the Western Cape and the Covid-19 steering committee of the Khayelitsha Development Forum (KDF). The virtual meeting tabled plans on how to deal with adherence to lockdown regulations, de-stigmatisation of the virus, schooling and economic recovery, as well as food relief. The Department of Community Safety’s spokesperson, Cayla Murray, said that each government department was given a hotspot area to focus on and Khayelitsha was allocated to the Department of Safety.

The Department of Community Safety has committed to consulting with community structures to develop their plans and to hear what plans communities may have. “The Department will work closely with the KDF, neighbourhood watches, faith-based organisations, all provincial government departments and, most importantly, with residents in Khayelitsha to implement the specific plans the Department has. These include mapping the area according to health data. Looking at facilities, densification, old-age homes, businesses and other elements to determine what engagement is required,” said Murray.

The Khayelitsha Development Forum’s chairperson, Ndithini Tyhido, confirmed that they will be merging the plans and work jointly with the department on the issues that both structures agree upon. On the issue of food relief, Tyhido said that they want to establish food banks in Khayelitsha that would be responsible for providing food to the needy through soup kitchens. “There have been fights around food parcels in Khayelitsha and we want to have food banks that will work to establish soup kitchens in every ward so that people can get food from there,” he said.

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“We want to flatten the curve by making sure that we run educational programs to make sure that people take individual responsibility by staying at home, they practice physical distancing, they wear their masks and wash their hands regularly,” Tyhido said.

In a digital press briefing last week, the director general of the Western Cape government, Harry Malila, presented the hotspot areas on maps of the township in shades of red. Photo supplied

The hotspots identified so far in the Western Cape are the health districts of Tygerberg, Khayelitsha, Klipfontein, and Du Noon in the Western and Hout Bay in the Southern districts. These areas would get extra intervention and support

According to the provincial coronavirus update, as of 1pm on 27 May, the Western Cape has 7,660 active cases of covid-19, with a total of 16,551 confirmed cases and 8,504 recoveries. Khayelitsha currently has 2,150 Covid-19 cases and 1,331 recoveries.

The Khayelitsha health district has the highest numbers of cluster outbreaks in the Western Cape. Photo supplied

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