A GROUP of Khayelitsha residents gathered outside the City of Cape Town offices yesterday, demanding water before the lockdown.

The group called Community Action Network, which is made up of residents and community-based organisations, said President Cyril Ramaphosa’s call to stay indoors could fall on deaf ears ekasi if the water issue was not addressed.

Speaking to Daily Sun, community leader Sibusiso Mdlankomo said: “The message from government has always been, ‘wash your hands’.

“Many people in informal settlements ask themselves wash hands with what?”

Another leader, Axolile Notywala, said the solution was for government to distribute water to squatter camps.

“A lockdown in informal settlements is impossible.

“People have to go out to get water. They have to go out to find toilets, so it’s not practical. We are saying water must be closer. Everyone needs water,” said Notywala.

He said social distancing was impossible ekasi. He said the only way to minimise the spread of the virus was to ensure hands were clean, but that wasn’t possible without water.

Busiswa Zonke (26) from Azania squatter camp in Ndlovini, Khayelitsha, said: “We are here to fight for water.

“We are scared of the coronavirus and need to keep ourselves and our children safe, but we don’t have water.

“We want the municipality to assist us hence we are gathered here. I’m unemployed and can’t afford to buy sanitisers.”

The city’s finance MMC Ian Neilson said there was no need to protest. He said they’d investigate water shortages ekasi.