Residents living at Jama Street, at Z Section in Khayelitsha fear for their health and safety as rats swarm outside their homes and in the streets.
Some have described the vermin as wild gangs.
They say the giant rats emanate from a container which has been converted into a dumping place for the residents of the nearby informal settlement at TR Section.
When Vukani visited the area, there was an unbearable stench coming from the container.
Resident, Nomhle Magama, said these rats and the unpleasant smell emanating from the container had been terrorising them for years now.
The giant rats invade their homes and damage their belongings. They have recently discovered that these rats hide under their cars and chew through cables of their vehicles.
As a result, she said residents have started spraying poison under their cars before they go sleep at night, to avoid potentially costly damages.
She said the rats make their way over Vibracrete walls and also burrow under them to get from one property to another.
She said the main cause of this was the fact that the residents from TR section were not throwing their rubbish bags inside the container but leave it lying against their walls.
“We feel like prisoners in own homes. I don’t know how many times, I have reported the matter to the City. At some point, a City official would frequently place poison in the yard for the rats but that was long time ago.
“I think this container needs to be removed from where it is and be placed somewhere else. My late father had lung cancer and was bedridden, and I could not open windows in his room because I feared that the rats might jump in and flies would be all over his bed,” she said.
Mayoral committee member for water and waste, Xanthea Limberg, said the city’s cleansing department has looked for alternative spaces to relocate the refuse collection container, which services the Bongani TR Section informal settlement, but unfortunately, due to space constraints in this area, there is currently no other available location.
The department will however continue to look for alternative spaces. Furthermore, the containers are disinfected daily.
The refuse bags are also regularly removed from this container three times a week and the container is cleaned after it is emptied by the contractor.
Ward 90 councillor, Luleka Jali, said she was not aware of this matter as it was never brought to her attention.
However, she said, there were people employed to clean the containers and she would visit the area to see the impact of this matter. She said there were also peopled employed to spray rats poison in these containers. She informed Vukani that she sent City officials to place rats poison in that container.
Mayoral committee member for community services and health, Zahid Badroodien, said rodent infestation was a huge problem in the Khayelitsha area.
“The problem is exacerbated by easy access to food sources for rodents,” he said.
“Mixed waste stored in the container is highly attractive to pests such as flies, cockroaches and also offer harbourage for rodents if not appropriately rodent-proofed and cleaned.
Due to the proximity of the bins to households, he said they receive numerous complaints relating to dumping, bad smells and high rodent activity in most areas.
He said City Health also routinely reported damaged containers or containers that needed to be lifted above ground to mitigate rodent breeding.