Joburg’s fight against rodents gets R2.5m cash injection

JOBURG - The City of Joburg has set aside R2.5 million to fight the scourge of rodents, which has turned deadly in some parts of the city.

“In recent years rodents have become a challenge in certain areas of Johannesburg such as informal settlements, overcrowded buildings in the inner city, hijacked buildings and households that are not managing their domestic waste and litter properly,” said MMC for Health And Social Development, Nonceba Molwele.

As rodents continued to pose a health and safety risk, the city council developed an Integrated Rodent Management Programme to eradicate infestation.

“This strategy focuses on the effectiveness of biological [barn owl] and cultural control factors [hygiene]. The use of chemicals is only as and when needed, and within a minimum amount,” Molwele explained.

A four-month-old baby from Diepsloot died last month after succumbing to injuries from a rat bite.

The child’s death came just days after another Alexandra baby was admitted to Charlotte Maxeke Hospital after having parts of her nose and fingers bitten off by rats.

The city has undertaken several rodent control efforts, including a rat cage roll-out in Alexandra in early 2012, which had since led to 28 400 rats being caught. Furthermore, health talks and door-to-door campaigns were conducted to create awareness about rodent breeding and possible diseases.

However, Molwele said improvement in cleanliness and general hygiene were still needed.

The city council urged the public to prevent rat infestation and offers some practical tips:

  •  Household waste should be wrapped in plastic bags and placed in the waste containers provided by Pikitup
  •  Dustbins must be kept closed
  •  Dirty dishwater containing scraps of food must not be poured into catch pits or in open spaces
  •  Open spaces, vacant lands and parks should be kept clean from rubble as it provides a fertile environment for rats
  •  Buildings should be “rat-proofed” to prevent the rodents from gaining access. All holes in exterior walls should be closed off.

The city council further encouraged residents to report any public health issues that contribute towards the breeding of rodents to city council’s environmental health (Pest Control) department.

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