Daily News: No rat poison for informal settlements

slowly, slowly the city is realising that it has to work with shack dwellers’ organisations rather than the councillors that work for the local rich and want shack dwellers forcibly removed from their areas. slowly, slowly the city is starting to begin to learn to work with and not for. but still no comment from abm in the article. still talking about, not too…and will the new clean up campaigns require the poor to do the work – another burden on poor women, another subsidy for society carried by the poorest?


No rat poison for informal settlements

By Heinz de Boer

Rat poison will not be distributed to people living in informal settlements, but major clean-ups are being planned across the municipality.

That’s according to head of the council’s communicable disease control unit, Dr Ayo Olowolagba, who on Sunday dispelled fears that rat poison would be given to people living in informal settlements.

Olowolagba was responding to an earlier municipal press release in which the health department claimed it would distribute poison to communities.

Rat infestations came under the spotlight last week after reports that a toddler had been bitten by one of the rodents in the Kennedy Road informal settlement, which was largely destroyed in a fire last week. The rats had bitten the two-month-old’s fingers.

Olowolagba further dismissed claims that his department was working against the Shack Dwellers Movement, Abahlali baseMjondolo.

He said his department had met with the group this week and were working with them to help jump-start several clean-ups.

Litter, old cars and other rubble remains the root of Durban’s widespread rat problem, Olowolagba said.

“There needs to be proper management of waste.

“There have been mass campaigns where there are big clean-ups and mass poisoning. But this is only once the groundwork has been done,” he said.

o This article was originally published on page 6 of Daily News on July 28, 2008