OUT OF OPERATION
Court gives Prasa eight more months to remove land occupiers on railway line in Langa
The agency now has until July 2022 to remove the people occupying land along the train tracks in Langa, Cape Town, following a high court order.
On Friday, 26 November, the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (Prasa) said it had been granted an eight-month extension to remove land occupiers along the tracks in Langa on the Central Line.
In February, Daily Maverick reported Prasa would seek legal action to remove land occupiers in Langa and Phillipi. Some said they had occupied Prasa land after being evicted from their homes.
Read in Daily Maverick: Cape Town land occupiers stop Prasa in its tracks
The Central Line, which stretches from Cape Town station to areas such as Phillipi, Mitchells Plain and Khayelitsha, has not been operational since November 2019 due to vandalism, theft and arson – and now the land occupations have added another obstacle. In February, the agency was able to reopen the Central Line between Cape Town and Langa, but could not go further because land on the tracks at Langa had been occupied.
In July, the Western Cape High Court granted Prasa an interdict and set a 26 November deadline for the Langa land occupiers to be removed. In August, GroundUp reported occupiers living along the Langa railway line would be moved to Eerste River and Stellenbosch. The agency would then confirm it was working with the Western Cape human settlements department, the City of Cape Town and the national Public Works and Infrastructure Department to resettle the occupiers.
However, the relocation plans hit a snag in September when Weekend Argus reported residents of Eerste River circulated a petition opposing the relocation.
Prasa said on Friday: “It is also public knowledge that the receiving community of Eerste River issued a petition in September opposing the proposed move of Langa residents to their area… consultation with the receiving community is still ongoing.”
The agency said it applied to the high court for an extension this week, to allow for further consultations with residents and to ensure all compliance measures are adhered to. If the consultative process was completed before the mid-year deadline, “Prasa will commence with the relocations ahead of the July deadline”.
It added: “The closure of the Central Line has come at a huge cost and inconvenience for the hundreds and thousands of commuters who rely on affordable railway transport to get to and from work, not to mention the economy of the City of Cape Town.” DM