From the news desk

Families living close to Prasa railway line waiting to be moved

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About 4,000 families squatting on the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (Prasa) railway line that blocks the train movements on the Cape Town central line are still waiting to be moved.  So far, about 2,000 families have been moved from Langa, Nyanga and Philippi in what was called Operation Bhekela.

It was an attempt to move the rail line occupiers about 10 metres away from the rail tracks in an attempt to resume train services.

But, thousands of others remain.

Cape Town Central was one of the busiest and most profitable of the metro railway lines. It remains in ruins filled with litter and people who were never supposed to be there in the first place.

During the COVID-19 lockdown in 2020, shacks were built on the rail reserve and railway lines in Langa, Nyanga, and Philippi. This led to theft and vandalism of infrastructure.

Prasa appears to struggle to clear and return the service to its former glory. Some occupiers say promises and concessions have been made during community engagements.

“As the committee has said, they were promised within 18 months that they are going to be relocated to the right land. But they are still waiting as they have already demanded some basic services to Prasa, that we are hoping Prasa will provide those services,” says of the occupiers.

Ward 8 Counsellor from Philippi, Lindikaya Payiya, says about 891 families in Philippi  have been moved from the railway line to a piece of land behind Stock Road Transport Interchange since last year.

Payiya says the occupation points to the chronic shortage of land and accommodation in the city.

“Prasa wants to fix the railway line so that the train can move while they are still trying to find land to relocate the people, because in Langa, they already moved the people on the railway line and the train is moving, but on this central line side we are still stuck.”

It is about four years now since the land invasion, with several postponements on the dates for evictions. Some objections were that the infrastructure cannot accommodate that number of people.

Prasa has not yet responded to SABC News‘ enquiries for comment.

Source: SABC News

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