South African charity Lifeline is hoping to tackle a plague of rats in Johannesburg by offering a mobile phone to any resident who manages to capture and submit 60 of the rodents.
The plan targets the township of Alexandra which is so overrun by rats that South Africa’s Mail & Guardian say “They nibble through anything near the ground – rubbish and cars – and even bite sleeping children’s fingers.”
The phones are provided by telecoms company 8ta but a spokesperson for them told the M&G: "You will have to ask Lifeline why they decided to use these promotional products. They do a lot of good community work, including in Alexandra. They used the promotional material to incentivise members of the community. I wasn’t aware this is how they were going to resolve the problem [of rats]. We won’t distance ourselves from Lifeline. It is a charity that does a lot of good work and our support for them is steadfast. I don’t want to deny the story. What I’m saying is that it’s not our initiative."
Some are concerned that residents may breed rats just to get a phone.