Cape Town – Despite the central line reopening earlier this week, thousands of passengers are still looking for alternative means of transportation.
The Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (Prasa) has reopened the line that is supposed to run from Cape Town station to Chris Hani and Kapteinsklip station, but now trains run to Langa station.
Thousands of cabins have been erected at three stations which are Langa, Philippi and Nonqubela.
Metrorail spokeswoman Riana Scott said service had resumed between Cape Town and Langa. However, service to Chris Hani and Kapteinsklip required the rehabilitation of infrastructure and the removal of illegal settlements.
She said there were about 8,000 structures erected on and around the tracks and had been there for several years now.
“In March of last year, Minister Fikile Mbalula engaged with the community of Langa by indicating that they should leave the tracks and that Prasa served them with a notice to move,” she said.
She said attempts would be made to facilitate a voluntary move, failing which a legal process would unfold.
“Commuters from other stations depend on other modes of transport with buses or taxis,” she said.
A resident of the informal neighborhood, named Siyahlala, in Langa, Mlondolozi Magqabi, said they were not going anywhere.
“If Prasa wants us to move, they have to provide us with land with basic services,” he said.
Magqabi said they had lived there for some time and the trains had not stopped running because of them. He also said there were thieves who stole the cables, forcing the trains to stop.
“The trains were running while we were here. Just because we built cabins here doesn’t mean they stopped, ”he said.
He said they had nothing to do with commuters who are suffering because the operations do not go beyond Langa.
“We have nothing to do with these people, it’s Prasa who must be worried about them. If they decide to move us with force, we will make sure that no trains are running at all, ”he said.
A community leader from the informal colony at Philippi station, Mboniso Kondile, said they were also not moving unless they had serviced land.
However, he said he felt for the people who are suffering because the trains do not run where they live.
“It is not good that others are suffering because the trains do not go to their areas. It’s especially sad because the poor depend on trains, but now they always have to have money for taxis, ”he said.
Prasa spokesman Bane Ndlovu echoed Scott’s sentiments, saying every attempt will be made to facilitate a voluntary movement or else a legal process will unfold.
“The reconstruction of the infrastructure will be preceded by the construction of walls / fences in conjunction with a security strategy incorporating technology,” “Ndlovu.