The municipality is devising strategies to combat the increasing rodent infestation in Cape Town. Picture: Chris Collingridge/
The municipality is devising strategies to combat the increasing rodent infestation in Cape Town. Picture: Chris Collingridge/

Growing concern over rodent infestation in Cape Town

By Marvin Charles Time of article published Jul 29, 2020

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Cape Town - The rats roaming the sewerage system and streets of the city made it on the agenda of the Cape Town municipality.

This after Cope caucus leader Farouk Cassim submitted a question to mayor Dan Plato asking for the City’s measures to combat rodent infestation.

Cassim asked about measures to combat the growing mice and rat population, given the problem of people leaving waste on the streets.

Plato responded: “Increased urbanisation and the resultant densely populated informal settlements, waste management practises and the availability of abundant food sources has resulted in the proliferation and explosion of the rodent population in certain areas of Cape Town.

“The typical breeding patterns of rodents in high activity areas are no longer influenced by the seasonal changes in weather. Higher numbers of complaints are, however, received in spring and autumn as rodents are more often observed as they look for more favourable shelter before winter and move outside again in spring.”

He said there were currently 10869 permanent block baiting points placed throughout the city. Locations were selected based on areas of high rodent activity and the requirements of the International Health Act in terms of ports of entry into South Africa.

Cassim told the Cape Argus that a number of residents in Rondebosch and Khayelitsha had spoken to him about the infestation.

“There is a problem with the mayor’s reply to the question because it seems that all departments are not working together to combat this problem. Solid waste management has not been pulling its weight and it seems that the City has no clear policy on what to do,” he said.

Plato said in his answers that solid waste management had not been consistent in their frequency in monitoring and cleaning. According to the City’s health directorate, it spent R788174.49 during the past financial year on rodent control services to vulnerable communities across the city. An additional R200000 for rodent control projects has been budgeted for Khayelitsha.

Mayoral committee member (Mayco) for Water and Waste services, Xanthea Limberg said: “There have been a number of challenges to sustain normal levels of service provision relating to lockdown and Covid-19 mitigation measures, however, illegal dumping occurs even when services are taking place as normal.”

Zahid Badroodien, Mayco member for Community Services and Health, said rodent infestation would always be a concern as they were carriers of disease and impact on public health.

“Most hot spots for rodents and poor waste management are in and around informal areas, open spaces, public interchanges, CBD areas, informal trade hubs as well as recent serviced land invasion sites.”

Cape Argus

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