The residents of Jika Joe informal settlement are happy with the attention and help they are getting from government to protect them from Covid-19, but they plead that it must not stop when the virus storm is over.On Tuesday, provincial government, together with local government structures, led by KwaZulu-Natal Finance MEC Ravi Pillay visited the densely populated area to spray the area with disinfectant as part of the Informal Settlements Sanitisation Programme.The provincial programme was also launched at iLembe District by Premier Sihle Zikalala on Tuesday and will be carried out in all of KZN’s 721 informal settlements across all districts. Yesterday, three informal settlements in Msunduzi — Jika Joe, Sacca in Mkondeni and Merrivale in Eastwood — were sanitised.The visit to Jika Joe, which is a neglected area according to the residents, was the second one in as many weeks.Pillay, who was accompanied by Msunduzi Municipality mayor Mzi Thebolla and uMgungundlovu District Municipality mayor Thobekile Maphumulo, said keeping informal settlements clean was very important during this tough period. “Informal Settlements are potential hotspots of the spread of the coronavirus due to them being densely populated,” said Pillay.“uMgungundlovu has the second-highest number of informal settlements (109) with an estimated 39 394 structures, after eThekwini which has 523 informal settlements with 208 434 structures. Jika Joe is seven hectares with an estimated 3 000 families, Sacca is 10 hectares with an estimated 4 000 households and Merrivale is 1,4 hectares with an estimated 240 households.”Apart from sanitising the areas, the residents also received 6 000 bars of soap from government. Sacca residents received 8 000 bars of soap and at Merrivale 480 bars of soap were handed out.Last week, removal of waste and clearing of illegal dumping sites, de-sludging of VIP toilets, sanitisation of communal spaces including ablution facilities, unblocking storm water drains and improving access to water were done in these areas.“We must understand our role as uMgungundlovu. We are second largest after eThekwini in terms of infected people in the province. :Yes, eThekwini is the epicentre by a long, long margin and ahead of uMgungundlovu but this thing spreads,” said Pillay.“Not so many weeks ago we were talking numbers of infected people being at 20 nationally and now we are over 3 000. “Those numbers are going to increase exponentially unless we have a serious plan. “We can only be successful and not induce the second lockdown if we are highly visible and that’s why we have to teach people about things like social distancing and hygiene,” he said.