Salt River residents say their neighbourhood is being plagued by rats drawn to the area by litter and discarded food.
The City says it hasn’t received any complaints abouts rats in the area, but Salt River Residents’ Association chairwoman Wardah Rahim, believes it’s a problem that is cause for real concern.
“There are far too many people still throwing their old food on the pavements, this leads to the rat problem,” she said.
“You find people that have had their bins stolen or who are not in possession of one, they end up dumping their items at these rundown buildings and this too draws in these rats. At the end of the day, it’s a problem being caused by another problem – with people dumping in our community.”
Irshaad Solomons said he had noticed a number of rats near his London Road home.
“When you walk around Salt River, you have to dodge people’s rubbish. Our drains are clogged, and, yes, there are people that choose to leave their old food outside of their homes. Of course we are going to have problems of this nature if people choose to live this way – it’s just bad habits I suppose.”
Another resident, Leila Sadan, said people caught dumping should face stiff penalties.
“It’s a kind of act that has so many consequences. Not only does this attract rats to our area, but leaving old food or your rubbish unprotected in public, poses a major health risk. I can’t understand why people do understand how these sorts of acts can heavily impact a community.
“It’s just not right. It’s not healthy, and people must be made aware of this. Just because you do not see a rat now, it doesn’t mean it is not a problem.”
The City warned that rats carry disease, their feeding habits are destructive and their nesting behaviour can “compromise the structure of infested buildings”, but it said its health directorate had not received any specific complaints about dumping of food waste or the proliferation of rats in Salt River.
City spokeswoman Priya Reddy said rat baiting in Salt River was limited to the area along the railway line and an informal settlement in the suburb.
Baiting in other public areas was based on complaints received or where conditions made it necessary.
Those who fail to heed compliance notices for dumping illegally can be fined between R500 and R10 000, or be jailed for between six months to two years. On top of these penalties, a court can also order the culprit to take the necessary restorative action or cover its costs. Ms Reddy said it was important for citizens to blow the whistle on illegal dumping.
* Residents can contact the City’s call centre at 0860 103 089 with complaints or service requests, or their nearest clinic or environmental health office with concerns about possible neighbourhood health hazards.