Residents trade rats for phones in South Africa

Summary:Instead of cash for clunkers, South Africa's offering phones for rodents.

Image via Flickr / Jo-h

Instead of cash for clunkers, South Africa's offering phones for rodents. Alexandra, a suburb of Johannesburg, has a serious rat infestation problem. And city officials have called on citizens to address it.

The city has handed out cages to their residents. If the residents manage to catch 60 rats, they get a free phone from mobile phone company 8ta. 8ta was not involved in this offer, rather, a charity they sponsor called Lifeline spearheaded the initiative.

According to Alexandra councillor Julie Moloi, this was a case of "dratstic" times calling for drastic measures. "We are afraid these rats will take over Alex and it will become a city of rats," she told South Africa's Mail and Guardian.

Though some animal rights groups have criticized the initiative, the ratcatchers themselves seem to be pleased with the setup. One resident told the Mail and Guardian he has already earned two phones and intends to get one for each of his family members. That means he's already caught 120 rats!

[via The Guardian]

Related on SmartPlanet:

This post was originally published on

Topics: Innovation


Contributing Editor Jenny Wilson is a freelance journalist based in Chicago. She has written for and Swimming World Magazine and served stints at The American Prospect and The Atlantic Monthly magazines. She is currently pursuing a degree from Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism. Follow her on Twitter. Full Bio

Contact Disclosure

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.

Related Stories

The best of ZDNet, delivered

You have been successfully signed up. To sign up for more newsletters or to manage your account, visit the Newsletter Subscription Center.
Subscription failed.