DA leader Helen Zille took to social networking site Twitter to announce that she had been bitten by a rat, The Star reported on Wednesday.
Zille tweeted her 251,000 followers around 6am on Tuesday: "The weirdest thing just happened. I went to fetch the newspapers at the gate when a rat darted out, and bit me on my toe!"
This was retweeted 268 times. Her followers on Twitter were quick to chime in with advice and suggestions which included go to the doctor, improve security at her Leeuwenhof home, and post a photo.
Later Zille posted: "I have just looked up on Google. It says no one in the US has ever got rabies from a small rodent. But I will ask my doctor. tks for advice."
Soon afterwards she uploaded a photograph of her toe.
Her spokesman Zak Mbhele tweeted: "I know the City Bowl rats are mutant freaks of nature but if they're starting to take nibbles out of people, we're in trouble..."