A rat in my kitchen

Chantal Underwood, Musgrave Park, Diep River

I live at this Communicare complex and have had a horrendous experience due to the rat infestation at the Musgrave Park complex.

On arriving home on Thursday March 23, at 11pm, I heard rats gnawing in my kitchen on what sounded like wood (picture attached), then saw them running around in my lounge. This left me feeling traumatised and I had to leave my home as I was not feeling safe there.

I sat in my car until dawn and have not been able to be in my own home since then.

I have informed Communicare call centres and nothing tangible has been done about the matter. There was no sense of urgency, no empathy or concern was shown, all I was told by one of the agents is that I would have to wait 48 hours before anyone could attend to the problem.

I even asked to be put through to the maintenance person in charge but was told they were not available. This is totally unacceptable.

On Sunday March 26, one of my neighbours told me that Communicare are aware of the rat problem but have done nothing about it. Communicare have not installed bait stations around the 350 unit complex, or called in a pest control company to do mandatory check up for rodents.

I am a paying tenant at the Musgrave complex, this is a violation of my home environment and health and safety rights and the complex is infested and has become an unhygienic environment to be in. Just as the rent is mandatory, I feel so should my right of health and safety be adhered and respected.

Communicare spokesperson, Michelle Matthee, responds: Communicare is not aware of any rat “infestation” at Musgrave Park. Over the past year we have no cases logged involving rodents at Musgrave Park, except this case and another incident that was reported subsequent to this one.

Pest spraying and inspections occur quarterly. Our pest control service provider serviced Musgrave Park in January and did not report any indication of rats within the complex.

Our building supervisor does a weekly walking inspection of Musgrave Park and has not seen any signs of rat infestation. As part of our ongoing pest control, bait stations are located in areas that attract pests, like the refuse rooms at Musgrave Park.

Ms Underwood logged a case with our call centre on March 24, at 9.33am.

We service over
7 000 tenants in 3 375 units across the Western Cape so it is standard protocol for our call centre agents to inform tenants that they will be contacted within 48 working hours of logging a case with us.

Calls made to the call centre cannot be transferred to our maintenance team or other staff. All our tenants have been made aware that they should utilise our after-hours emergency number for maintenance issues that require immediate attention after-hours. Unfortunately, the tenant did not utilise this number to request urgent action.

The building supervisor contacted Ms Underwood on March 27, at 10am. Just over 24 working hours in our committed 48 working hour response time. The building supervisor and portfolio manager visited the tenant at 3pm on March 27 to ascertain the extent of the problem.

We believe this was an isolated incident inside her unit. We nevertheless have subsequently emptied and cleaned the entire unit, and will repair the minor damage to the kitchen cabinet base strip.