17 March 2016

City's Proactive Plan to Target Rodent Problem

EThekwini Municipality has taken a proactive approach to effectively manage the rodent problem in the City.

Various City units are already on the ground working to tackle the rat problem and a new forum has been established with relevant departments to work on a large scale plan of action.

While significant strides have already been made through the Vector Control Unit, one of the only functioning vector control department in the country, more can be done.

The City Rodent Management Forum consists of the following departments: Vector Control, Roads and Stormwater, Parks, Durban Solid Waste, eThekwini Transport Authority, Informal Trade, Markets, Environmental Health and Areas Based Management.

The Forum held their first meeting today, 17 March 2016, where the various departments outlined current programmes being implemented to manage the solution. However, the aim of the Forum was for an integrated plan of action to be drawn up and implemented to holistically tackle the issue. 

The Forum would meet monthly for the next few months, before meeting quarterly. 

Dr Ayo Olowolagba, Head of the City’s Communicable Disease Control Department said they wanted to work towards making the City rodent free.

“It is a reality that we have incidents of rats breeding in places they should not be. It is important for us to come together as relevant stakeholders to discuss a way forward. We have to deal with the problem at the source, otherwise we will keep treating only the symptoms and the problem will continue repeating itself,” he said.

Rodents impact negatively on residents’ health as they act as reservoirs for more than 60 different diseases including the Plague, Rat-Bite Fever, Lassa Fever, Hanavirus and Murine Typhus to name a few. The Brown Rat is the most common rodent in Durban.

Rodent control is a challenge as rats multiple at a fast rate. Females are sexually active from two and a half months and will have a litter of between 8-10 pups after 21 days. It takes 21 days to wean the litter before she can mate and give birth again. The weaned litter are sexually active after 6-8 weeks.

Breeding sites for rodents include sites of refuse accumulation, problem buildings, manholes that are not cleaned, electrical substations, refuse bin areas, unmaintained road verges, recycling sites, taxi and bus ranks and markets and informal traders where correct waste disposal was not being practiced. 

Olowolagba said while there were a lot of contributing factors leading to the rodent infestation in the City, stakeholders had to come together with a collective plan to achieve results.

“An important message is that everyone has a role to play to help solve this problem. That includes the public who needs to practice proper waste management. We are all generators of waste but we need to handle it properly. Every bit of littered dirt makes a difference,” he said.

He added that the public needs to own their spaces and keep it clean.

“If you are trading or living in an area, keep it clean. Don’t create the conditions for rodents to breed. We need a mindset change among people which is why we need influential people in communities to come on board and help us educate people,” Olowolagba said.

He was confident that the Forum would successfully work together to create the goal of making eThekwini the most liveable City in Africa, and enjoyable for all both residents and visitors.

“This initial meeting is just the foundation for us to come together as different departments to discuss what we are doing to tackle the problem. We are not asking for more resources, we are saying let us working together with what we have, to achieve maximum results,” Olowolagba added.


Issued by eThekwini Municipality’s Communications Head, Tozi Mthethwa.

For more information members of the media can contact Gugu Sisilana on 031 311 4855 or email: or Princess Nkabane on 031 311 4818 or 

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