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THE MOTHER City has been overrun by rats the size of cats.
Residents report that the brazen rodents are coming into their homes and biting them.
Lungiswa James, the mayoral committee member for health, described to the council this week how the problem was found throughout the city, but was especially focused in the city centre and informal settlements.
It’s estimated that there are four rats for every human in Cape Town.
Residents in Khayelitsha told the Cape Argus yesterday that even cats failed to deter the rats.
RR section in Khayelitsha was identified as one of the areas with a major rodent problem.
Monde Nqulwana, the ward councillor, said the rats appeared to have grown in size over the past few years.
“We used to use the cats to chase the rats, now even the cats run away.”
During this week’s council meeting, James said: “Sometimes we hear they are even biting our children.”
The new budget was passed at the meeting.
In the next financial year, the health department will spend R530 000 on rat poison.
James said it had been an ongoing problem. The rats were found where they had easy access to food, like the city centre, where there were many restaurants.
Informal settlements, where there was “illegal dumping or poor waste management”, were also breeding grounds.
James said the rising cost of poison also “contributed to the challenges of managing rodents”.
“In accordance with international best practice, the City of Cape Town proactively manages the areas where rodent breeding occurs by traditional baiting methods…
“Baiting has increased over the last few years,” James said.
As part of the Expanded Public Works Programme, people were being trained to distribute pamphlets, advise residents on rat control and monitor the baiting points.
“Unfortunately, as in other large cities across the world, rodents will never be completely eradicated, especially in the presence of dense human settlements, a steady supply of food wastes and the absence of predators.”
Nqulwana said yesterday that refuse was not collected regularly in RR section, which led to a build-up of rubbish – a major attraction for the rats. And each resident was given only two refuse bags for the week.
Rats hid under the refuse containers and in communal toilets, the wetlands and blocked stormwater drains.
Frightened Zameka Rasmeni told how a rat had nibbled on her foot one night as she sat in her home
Nqulwana said he planned to meet volunteers from the Expanded Public Works Programme to discuss their progress. He said it was important to have public meetings with residents to assess their concerns.