Cooperatives contracted to the Joburg City Council’s Jozi@Work programme have joined the war on rats in Alexandra, north of Johannesburg.
Despite efforts to quell the large scale infestation in the past – including the fumigation of storm water drains, and using owls – rats continue to thrive and could pose a serious health risk if not contained, Alex News reported.
Tandeka Zaca of the Ntokozo Yezwe Co-operative 320 rats per night from 20 cages placed across the township in recent months.
Zaca said the work helped clean up Alexandra but would be more successful with the public’s cooperation.
“Health should be everyone’s concern, in particular for children by parents. Some children have had their fingers amputated after rat bites caused gangrene and from the risk of contracting other deadly diseases,” she said.
She urged residents without metal bins to place their rubbish in plastic bags and only remove them from homes on collection days.
“Some residents where we placed the traps say they can now sleep peacefully after our efforts,” she said.
Phyllis Masiavhula of Gochi Trading, a support agency, said they assisted in strengthening the rat traps’ operational and managerial capacity.
“We ensure they have the cages and are trained on their use, have safety tools, trapped rats are collected as scheduled by the pest control unit and that they receive their payments on time,” Masiavhula said.
Thami Zwane of the city council said Jozi@Work recently engaged the support agency, as well as others to manufacture the cages. This as part of the city’s employment generation with the added value of health promotion.
“The public should remain sensitive to the very imminent health risks, including from the deadly bubonic plague and other rat-related diseases if they do not improve or cooperate with council’s and the cooperatives’ work,” Zwane said. The caught rats are gassed and sampled for diseases at a lab.
Zaca urged council to consider acquiring more traps to cope with the rat population, which she said shifted to other areas when they detected human interference.
– Caxton News Service