Community organisers and leaders in informal settlements and townships have been concerned that some in their communities do not seem to be taking the Covid-19 epidemic seriously.

In July the Community Organisation Resource Centre (CORC) convened a number of discussions with about 25 community organisers from informal settlements across the country to share their thoughts on what the problem is, and ideas on how it may be addressed.

This article is a thematic summary of those discussions. It is published in the hope that political leaders and public health officials might find some of their ideas helpful in developing better strategies for controlling the spread of this virus, and others in the future. The take-home messages are summarised at the end. They will not be unfamiliar to officials, but it is through hearing the frustration in the voices of the community members that authorities might be nudged into further action.

Is there a problem?

Yes. Almost everyone in the discussions confirmed that people in their communities were not taking Covid-19 seriously. This was manifested by people not wanting to observe social distancing, not wearing masks, drinking and getting drunk in groups, going about their daily activities in the informal settlements…

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