Orlando West, home to Noble Peace Prize-winners Nelson Mandela and Archbishop Desmond Tutu, is infested with rats.
Business and community leaders in Vilakazi Street say they are besieged by rodents that are sometimes the size of cats.
An upset Shadrack Motau, a community leader, says the area has been plagued by rodents for some time now.
"This is a serious problem, more so because Orlando West is now one of the top tourist attractions in the country.
"We are doing our best to prevent the rats, but we need help urgently," said Motau. He has first-hand experience of "rodent invasions".
"I was awoken by a nasty sound coming from the ceiling the other night. When I investigated, I found that the rodent had gotten inside the house through the roof and made its way to the cupboards. We ended up removing groceries from the cupboards," he said.
Restaurateur Sakhumzi Maqubela said he had to call pest control specialists to the area.
"I haven't seen them since the restaurant was fumigated."
Provincial and local-government spokesman Themba Sepotokele said rodent-control strategies put in place to eradicate rats had been halted by the community's contribution to the problem.
"Littering in open spaces invites rats. Unfortunately, members of the community continue to create dumping sites in the townships, despite our efforts to discourage them from doing so," said Sepotokele.