Rats Cage
City Of Johannesburg

A. Problem Analysis

 1. What was the problem before the implementation of the initiative?
As an attempt to address rodent infestation which is one of the major health challenges facing the already overcrowded Alexandra Township with a population of above 500 000. This challenge came about when passages and/or streets in between the brick and mortar houses meant to divide houses from one another were used to construct “informal dwelling places” (Shacks). The number of residents increased leading to overcrowding that resulted in constraints of essential services such as refuse removal and maintenance of sewage systems at Alexandra Township

B. Strategic Approach

 2. What was the solution?
Rats cages project is an original invention of Mr TD Mauwane who is an Environmental Health Practitioner for the city of Johannesburg. Since the inception of the Rats Cages Project, there is a reduction in the number rats bites complaint reported the local government clinic. The community also realises that this is a cost effective and an easy to use method.

 3. How did the initiative solve the problem and improve people’s lives?
Cages are used to keep rats, birds as pests and etc to be admired by their owners. Whilst in the “Rats Cages Project” cages are used to trap rats, keep them safe prior to transporting them to the gas station (Number Three square) where they will be eliminated. Rats Cage design used in the project at Alexandra Township is also an innovative idea because it is different from other rats or bird cages.More poison was used in the fight against rats previously before the introduction of cages, but since the inception of the project especially where there are children; chemical use has since been discouraged. The project is less costly as compared to the use of rats bait stations because rats are captured and eradicated in a controlled area; whereby with the bait station rats can die far from the station uncontrolled and can cause a terrible smell to the residents and maybe cause rat related illnesses.

C. Execution and Implementation

 4. In which ways is the initiative creative and innovative?
On the 30th November 2011 the City of Joburg (COJ) region E employees held an Imbizo “a Community Dialogue” on the Rats Cages Roll-out project at “Number 3 Square” with the ward 76 residents of Alexandra Township. Thereafter, there were other meetings with the community to ensure that almost all residents of Ward 76 knew about the rats’ cages project and were supporting its implementation prior to its actual implementation. The community also got to know about the project through the media namely, Alex Times and Alex radio station.Presentations of the project to senior management of the City of Joburg (COJ) were also done in order to get their buy-in.A pest control official shall issue the house hold member with a registration form to complete during the collection of a cage. A household member will fill in their Name, House number, Time of collection, Cage number and their ID number. Each cage will be numbered for tracking purposes.

 5. Who implemented the initiative and what is the size of the population affected by this initiative?
1. Siyakhona Hilside digital, (capturing moments) 2. City of Joburg 4. Waste Removal Company 5. Lifeline (Private Company) 6. SPCA
 6. How was the strategy implemented and what resources were mobilized?
• The Health Department (City of Joburg) ensured that funds are available for the purchasing of Rat Cages and the Carbon Monoxide Machine, • The Department of Development Planning and Urban Management (DPUM) in region E, assisted with the procurement of extra Rat Cages, when the demand was more. • PIKITUP (Waste Removal) provided refuse bags and also ensured the availability a special Skip Bin for the collection and disposal of dead rats. • The Human Resource made the availability of Pest Controllers. • Siyakhona Hillside Digital was there to capture all activities of the project before the beginning and during the course of the project.

 7. Who were the stakeholders involved in the design of the initiative and in its implementation?
What were the most successful outputs? • The community showed much interest from the first day of the project. All the departments invited came to kick-off the project. • Ward Governance Department played a vital role in mobilising the community and continuing to do so. These helps in strengthened community participation. • SPCA advised on a proper method in eradicating rats and they were happy with the introduction of the Rats Cages Innovation. In the previous methods, rats were beaten by sticks and killed in a manner that was condemned by SPCA. • A strong partnership with the media has been established. There is an ongoing communication strategy through various media, both print and electronic media. Several of the media houses shown keen interest in the project. • Strong partnership between Private – lifeline Cell phone company and Public Stakeholders CoJ Region E and Alexandra Ward 76 Residents • Replication –Project started in Ward 76 but now people from other Wards also participate actively

 8. What were the most successful outputs and why was the initiative effective?
What systems were put in place to monitor progress and to evaluate the activities? • Continuous monitoring, recording and reporting of hot-spot areas by the Pest control team helps in making sure of the treatment and control of hot-spots • Daily record/stats are kept on site (Three square) to can monitor the progress of the project and where to improve. • Health talks and door- to- door campaigns were conducted to try and create awareness on rodent breeding, possible diseases as well as to get a buy-in and active participation of the communities combating this epidemic. • More cages have been procured and are to be allocated to community members on the waiting list. • A good relationship has been established with the National Institute for Communicable Diseases to analyse rat species for any communicable diseases that they might be carrying. • Monthly stats of rat bites are communicated with the Municipal Clinics in and Around Alexandra Township.

 9. What were the main obstacles encountered and how were they overcome?
What were the main obstacles encountered and how were they overcome? • Residents of the other wards outside ward 76 in Alexandra Township are still practising improper waste disposal which becomes sources of rodents breeding places. • Illegal dumping by residents becomes breeding places for rodents; this becomes food access for the rats. • Alexandra Township residents residing in informal dwellings (Shacks) due to inadequate infrastructure such as toilet facilities and etc. • There is a need to expand the number of rat cages as well as Pest Controllers to additional receiving sites besides number Three square. Unemployed youth to be employed in the community workers programs to clean the rats cages on their return by community prior to handling them back to the community again. Some community members retain unused rats cages given to them. There is also a waiting list for people requesting cages. 1. Waiting List for cages • The Pest Control team are continuously monitoring the hot spot areas to ensure that all rats breeding areas are monitored and controlled. Clean up campaigns are held on regular bases to reduce feeding and breeding areas.

D. Impact and Sustainability

 10. What were the key benefits resulting from this initiative?
The creation of safe and not harmful environment for Alexandra Township residents by doing the following: • Raised community awareness regarding causes of rodent infestation and related diseases outbreak • Motivated community judging by their active participation in the project activities as requested and the ward counsellor at ward 76 has taken a lead in her ward and inspired the community into the project. Motivated community evident by them taking full ownership of the rat cage project. • Reduction in number of rats bites complaints reported to the local government clinic since inception of the project on 16th March 2012 • Raised community awareness regarding causes of rodent infestation and related diseases outbreak. • Since March 19 2012 to 22nd November 2013 4000 cages were in circulation and 23 000 rats were trapped and eliminated at the gassing station. • The rat’s cages project is a classical example of inter-sectoral collaboration between all departments in COJ Region E and partnership with a Non governmental Organisation (NGO) Siyakhona and Lifeline. • Received 1st price from The National Department of Health (Alfred Nzo), by Dr Aaron Motsoaledi • Received the 1st Runner-up price from the CPSI Awards, by Ms Thuli Radebe (CEO, CPSI).

 11. Did the initiative improve integrity and/or accountability in public service? (If applicable)
• In ensuring the sustainability of the project, the night shifts were introduced whereby the Pest control team puts cages on all hot-spots at night. It was discovered that rats are much active at night and will be on a hunt for food. 1. Night photos 2.Rats activities at night 4. Rats cought at night • Cages are strategically placed in areas of high infestation; therefore more rats are then eliminated during this session. • The community also gets more information about the project through the media namely; Alex times and Alex Radio Station. • There is an on-going health education to the community 1. Education Material 2. Health education 2. REPLICABILITY • Other Sub-district/Region of Joburg will start similar projects. • There has been enough allocation of funds to cater for the project expansion.

 12. Were special measures put in place to ensure that the initiative benefits women and girls and improves the situation of the poorest and most vulnerable? (If applicable)
Challenges and Lessons • There is a need for adequate infrastructure to help eliminate illegal dumping, to reduce uncontrolled sewerage flowing on the streets. Some residents don’t want to change to better their surroundings but through the assistance of ward Councillors, this can be managed. • Residents of other wards outside ward 76 in Alexandra Township are still practicing improper waste disposal which becomes sources of rodents breeding places. • More funds are needed to cage expand the project to the point where every house hold can have a rat cage.

Contact Information

Institution Name:   City Of Johannesburg
Institution Type:   Government Agency  
Contact Person:   Tawane Daniel Mauwane
Title:   Mr  
Telephone/ Fax:   011 5821 533/071 3639 607
Institution's / Project's Website:  
E-mail:   dannym@joburg.org.za  
Address:   24 Fredman Drive,
Postal Code:   2146
City:   Sandton
State/Province:   Gauteng

          Go Back

Print friendly Page