A free mobile phone for everyone who catches 60 rats


South African charity Lifeline is running an initiative to get rid of festering rats in the Joburg township of Alexandra. In a modern take of the story of the Pied Piper of Hamelin, Lifeline is offering a mobile phone to any resident who manages to capture and submit 60 rodents to the organisation.


According to a report in South Africa’s Mail & Guardian newspaper, Alexandra is so overrun by rats “They nibble through anything near the ground – rubbish and cars – and even bite sleeping children’s fingers.”

Image via M&G


The phones are provided by telecoms company 8ta as promotional material. Though initially reported as an 8ta initiative a company spokesman denied they are behind it:

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.

The initiative could suffer the cobra effect,with people breeding rats just to get a phone. Only time will tell whether this PR stunt will work.


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12 thoughts on “A free mobile phone for everyone who catches 60 rats

      1. Thats easy, its feline buddies that would also have 60 rats in their tummies. But then another problem, how will they know each others numbers?

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