The outbreak of the Covid-19 virus in South Africa has once again highlighted the dangers that the country’s lacking water infrastructure pose for the most vulnerable in our society, says Southern African Plastic Pipe Manufacturers Association (SAPPMA).

Jan Venter, CEO of SAPPMA, says frequent hand washing with soap and clean water is one of the first lines of defense against contracting the Corona virus. “However, it is a sad and worrying reality that many informal settlements and communities around our country do not have access to clean water for drinking, hand washing or cooking to protect them against the ravaging effect of this highly contagious disease,” he says.

“The country desperately needs a reliable network of water and sewage pipes capable of serving the whole population.”

Meeting health, manufacturing standards

SAPPMA is urging government to engage with them and the plastic pipe manufacturers they represent in order to develop a plan of action that will only see pipes installed that meet to international health and manufacturing standards.

“We were relieved when water and sanitation minister Lindiwe Sisulu launched the National Water and Sanitation Master Plan (NW&SMP) towards the end of last year in which she committed to address the issues of insufficient water infrastructure, maintenance and investment, water and sanitation, deteriorating water quality and a lack of water engineers as a matter of urgency. However, we have not seen much progress made in this regard and believe the coronavirus outbreak once again highlights that we cannot afford to delay the process any longer,” Venter implores.