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Despite conditions, Zandspruit residents determined to help curb COVID-19 spread

Congested shacks with pathways filled with litter and flowing sewage make the residents' fight to stem the spread of COVID-19 fruitless.

This young man rummages through garbage in Zandspruit to find food and anything else that’s useful. He knows about COVID-19 and the lockdown but has to attend to more pressing needs, like getting food into his stomach. Picture: Theto Mahlakoana/EWN

GOVERNMENT - Experts and everyone in the country agree that the most vulnerable communities to the coronavirus are people in densely populated townships and informal settlements.

However, it appears that no one is more aware of this fact than the residents of these areas who are bent on preserving lives and stopping the spread of the virus despite their living conditions, which are a danger in themselves.

I meet gogo Christina Mahlangu at a corner which has been turned into a dumping site by residents of Zandspruit, who have protested over their lack of basic service delivery countless times since 1994.

She is one of the 1994 group of residents who first erected shacks here, finding the location convenient as they wake up daily to go clean after and serve middle-class residents as domestic workers in Honeydew, Sandowner and Northcliff among others.

GALLERY: Zandspruit: 'If COVID-19 comes, no one will care. We'll all die'

But now, the place she has called home for years is a death trap.

Congested shacks with pathways filled with litter and flowing sewage make her own fight to stem the spread of COVID-19 fruitless.

But she is still hell-bent on trying her best.

"I can’t say I know what this coronavirus is. All I know is that we have to be safe, to save each other, to always wash our hands with water - after you eat and ever so often you must always wash your hands to be clean."

WATCH: Zandspruit on COVID-19: 'Life goes on, no one cares for us'

Mahlangu’s neighbours took off in the morning, rushing to the only sizeable supermarket that services the informal settlement.

There, a snaking queue on a small gravel pathway makes social distancing impossible.

Again they ask: "What did the government expect would happen to us during this crisis?"

To track the latest developments around the coronavirus both in South Africa and abroad, click on this live status report from Strategix.