Joburg unveils strategy to fight rodents

SEPTEMBER 30, 2014

The City of Johannesburg has developed a strategy to enhance its fight against the infestation of rodents, the City’s Member of Mayoral Committee for Health and Social Development, Councillor Nonceba Molwele, announced on Tuesday.

“We’ve developed an Integrated Rodent Management Programme (IPM) strategy to eradicate the infestation of rodents in all corners of Johannesburg.

“This strategy focuses on the effectiveness of biological (barn own) and cultural control factors (hygiene). The use of chemicals is only as and when needed,” she said.

Molwele was briefing the media about the City’s intervention on rodent control in Johannesburg ahead of an educational tour to Alexandra for the live demonstration of the interventions to the reporters.

In the past, rodents have been a serious challenge in certain areas of the City of Joburg such as Alexandra, Diepsloot, and Ivory Park, as well as in overcrowded buildings in the Inner-city.

She said the aim of the strategy is to be proactive and preventative, adding that it also serves as an ecologically based system in which all available techniques are evaluated and consolidated into a unified programme to manage pest populations so that economic damage is avoided and adverse effects on the environment are minimised.

According to Councillor Molwele, the City set aside R2.5 million to fight the scourge of rodents in the 2014/15 financial year.

“We need to improve on cleanliness and general hygiene which is part of sanitation and this includes correct management of household waste; elimination of littering; general cleanliness of environment; elimination of waste water; reparation of broken water pipes and taps; drainage of excess water and correct storage of food,” she said.

Councillor Molwele also emphasised on filing up of holes and cracks, metal strips on doors, mesh over drainage holes and cone shaped excluders.

“We’ve also introduced the promotion of owls as natural predators of rodents and this has proven to be important. To date, one owl box has been erected at Lord Kanyile pay point (Region A) where six barn owls have been reared and released into the communities to hunt for rodents.”

Owl boxes were placed at four schools in Alexandra namely Minerva High, Iphuteng, Cata Combined and Zenzeni Schools with four Barn owls allocated per school (16 owls).

“Today, we will be expanding the owl’s project to Marlboro Gardens Primary school with our partner Eco-Solutions, a school that has shown enthusiasm to learn about owls. The project will also be rolled out in Region G schools,” she said.

In March 2012, the rat cage roll-out was launched in Alexandra, where cages were issued to the community of Ward 76 as a pilot, with the main purpose of getting communities to play an active role in the eradication of the rodents.

To date, a total of 28 400 rats were caught since the inception of the rats’ cage pilot project in ward 76. The rats’ cage programme has since been expanded to all the seven regions of the City.

“We would like to urge members of the community to contribute to the ‘battle against rats’ by wrapping plastic bags, keeping an open space, vacant lands and parks clean from rubble as it provides a fertile environment for rats,” she said. -SAnews.gov.za