The City of Cape Town has put in place a number of initiatives to minimise the problem of rat infestation.
The primary cause of the infestation is the prevalence of food waste. In areas with high rat populations, it has been found that some residents dump their rubbish next to collection bins rather than inside them, or leave their rubbish out on days other than collection day.
To create a Safe City for all our residents and in order to address the increasing rat population the City has done the following:
- Appointed waste contractors to collect waste in formal and informal areas throughout the city
- Provided rodent-proof dumping containers across the city
- City Health performs on-going community and school education on the health risks of poor waste management
- In accordance with international best practice, the City proactively manages the areas where rodent breeding occurs by means of traditional baiting methods and the enforcement of applicable legislation. Baiting has been increased over the past few years, particularly in the breeding seasons of spring and autumn
- City Health has budgeted R530 843 to purchase rat poisons. This amount excludes the staff salaries and vehicle costs for the teams doing the block baiting
- Special pest control project partnerships have been undertaken in areas well known to be affected by rodents
- A complaints-based, reactive pest control service is provided to previously disadvantaged communities
- City Health has made use of funding via the Expanded Public Works Programme to train previously unemployed people to distribute pamphlets, offer advice on rat control and monitor baiting points in informal settlements
- In Khayelitsha, 17 685 block-baiting stations have been serviced since July 2012
- Business premises such as hotels, restaurants and food outlets are routinely visited by environmental health practitioners to check they have rodent control programmes in place. Where these programmes are inadequate the owner of the business is asked to remedy the situation in terms of the applicable legislation
- In the CBD, we have engaged in a public/private partnership project with the Cape Town Central City Improvement District, which further aims to reduce the rodent population of the area. It also creates capacity building and skills-development opportunities for four previously unemployed people, who assist City Health's environmental health staff with implementing the project
We appeal to residents to help us curb the rat problem by keeping their area clean of all solid waste and by disposing of waste correctly. The City will continue to do as much as we can to provide a safe and hygienic environment for all residents.