A run down and vandalized Heideveld Train Station Picture: Brendan Magaar/African News Agency(ANA)

Stations along Cape Town’s central line lie in ruins

By Siyabonga Kalipa May 1, 2021

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Cape Town - The state of some of Cape Town’s central line train stations has raised concerns among the community.

The line stopped running in November 2019 as a result of cable theft and vandalism. Some of the stations have managed to get volunteers who do patrols while others look in dire need of such initiatives.

The Weekend Argus visited some of the stations which are now being frequented by people doing drugs and robbers.

The windows in ticket offices are broken and the concrete slabs used to build the platform have been taken out.

Earlier this year, Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (Prasa) opened some parts of the line, from Cape Town station to Langa.

At Langa station, people have erected shacks and are refusing to move, saying that they need to be moved to serviced land.

Cape Flats Safety Forum chairperson Albie Isaacs said they were concerned about what is happening to the stations.

“We are deeply concerned about the infrastructure being vandalised because money will be needed to fix it and which might hinder the process and those who rely on trains suffer,” said Isaacs.

He said the train was the cheapest mode of transport for a lot of people and now people are spending more to travel, especially since a lot of people lost their jobs.

“We are calling on Prasa to fast-track the fixing and reopening of the central line,” he said.

However, he said, after being approached by Prasa for help, they have provided volunteers for the central line service recovery plan.

Khayelitsha Development Forum chairperson Ndithini Tyhido said since the central line stopped operating, a lot has happened at train stations.

“There are a lot of bad activities happening in some stations where women get raped, people robbed and drug abuse,” he said.

He also said they were also part of the central line service recovery plan and were waiting for the outcomes.

Prasa spokesperson Zinobulali Mihi said they were looking into their security because they get a lot of questions around that.

She added that the fixing of vandalised stations was part of the national plan to revamp them.

“There has been constant and extensive vandalism at most of our stations since March 2020, before the hard lockdown. Future plans include the rebuilding of stations, however, this depends on when funds are allocated.

“That requires capital funding and big projects of that magnitude are requested in advance. The refurbishment of stations has been submitted as part of Prasa’s National Station Improvement Programme (NSIP) over two years i.e. 2022/23 and 2023/24. With limited funding, risk assessments are made including the prioritisation of protecting the assets,’’ said Mihi.

She said the stations most affected by vandalism include Philippi, Netreg, Heideveld, Mandalay, Lentegeur, Bonteheuwel and Bishop Lavis.

’’In terms of security of stations, there are contracted security personnel deployed at stations but the intensity of crime especially on the Central Line including sporadic gang turf wars and frequent service delivery protests makes it impossible to restore services without major intervention.

“It remains a challenge to securitise everywhere at all times. Communities should work hand in hand with us in restoring the services,’’ Mihi said.

Weekend Argus

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