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Owls, traps to address city's rat scourge

A cash injection of R2.5 million to fight the scourge was announced by the department yesterday.

MMC of Health and Social Development Nonceba Malwele addresses the media in Alexandra about Johannesburg's rat problem. Picture: Reinart Toerien/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - The City of Johannesburg's Health and Social Development Department says while it's aware of the growing spread of Johannesburg rat problem, the situation is receiving the utmost attention.

A cash injection of R2.5 million to fight the scourge was announced by the department yesterday.

Measures include the promotion of owls and natural predators, gassing rat burrows with carbon dioxide and catching rats in cages.

Over 28,000 rats have been caught by the department's rat cage project in Alexandra since 2012.

The project has now been implemented in seven other areas in the city.

MMC for Health and social development, Nonceba Molwele said the city's fight against rat infestations dates back to 2012.

"These interventions are not new. I think to date, we have spent R6 million since the development of the strategy which was launched in 2012."

She said while rodent management is a complex process, active citizenship will result in speedier solutions.

The department maintains despite the growing number of cases of children being bitten by rats, it's confident all the city's residents will have a rodent free life in the near future.

Several babies and small children have been the victims of rat bites in Gauteng over the last few months, the most recent resulting in the death of a four-month-old baby in Diepsloot last month.

Alexandra residents say they can't enjoy a simple meal without having to fight off rats.

Residents said they are relieved that government is stepping up its war against the rodents.

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