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Public participation for the Philippi wedge open for comments

Shacks erected on the Central line just outside Langa train station. Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (Prasa) bought land to relocate the squatters to the Philippi wedge. Picture: File

Shacks erected on the Central line just outside Langa train station. Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (Prasa) bought land to relocate the squatters to the Philippi wedge. Picture: File

Published Oct 26, 2023


Cape Town - The public is invited to comment on the rezoning of farming land in preparation for the relocation of the Central Line squatters.

The Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (Prasa) and the implementing agent, the Housing Development Agency (HDA), submitted land use applications for rezoning of land for human settlements development.

The Langa residents, who built shacks on the railway tracks that affected the Central Line, were given notice, and Prasa decided to move them to the Philippi wedge.

The City said: “As per the City’s role as an independent land use regulator, the public is hereby invited to comment on the Prasa/HDA applications in line with the Municipal Planning By-Law.

“The public comment period is open from 20 October to 27 November on the Prasa/HDA land use applications for two parcels of land at 34 and 42 Weltevreden Road, Philippi. Prasa, via the HDA, acquired these erven from a private land owner and have submitted applications seeking the rezoning of these erven from Agricultural to Single Residential Zoning 2. This follows Prasa’s Central Line being subjected to a land invasion just before the national Covid-19 lockdown.”

Mitchells Plain councillor Elton-Enrique Jansen spoke against the move.

“Prasa, through HDA, finally bought the land in the Philippi wedge as the City. We can’t stop them from buying the land, and we can’t stop them from submitting a planning application. What we can do is mobilise the communities to comment on the application.

“Our position, as sub-council 17 and the rest of the Mitchells Plain councillors, remains the same – we don’t support the relocation of the illegal occupiers on the Central Line to the Philippi wedge for various reasons. There are no schools or public transport. The basic services are minimal. There will be another informal settlement next to two informal settlements where there are no services and where we can’t render services because it will be on private land.

“That in itself can cause problems within the community. We do support the reopening of the Central Line because people are spending thousands of rands travelling to work, but we can’t do that at the expense of the Mitchells Plain residents, and also the people they are going to relocate to. We are actually opposing this for them too.”

The City said Prasa approached the Western Cape High Court and obtained an eviction order, which included the provision of alternative emergency accommodation.

“For this purpose, Prasa appointed the HDA to undertake land acquisition, planning approval applications, and relocation of the unlawful occupants.”

The City said once public comments had been received and considered, a decision on Prasa/HDA’s applications would be made by the Municipal Planning Tribunal, which consists of external professionals and officials appointed by the City.

“Should appeals be lodged, these will be considered by the Planning Appeals Advisory Panel, which makes a recommendation to the executive mayor, who is the final appeal authority in terms of the Municipal Planning By-law.”

Comments, objections and representations can be submitted to [email protected] before the closing date.

To arrange for a viewing of the application, call 021 684 4369 to make an appointment with the relevant district office.

Langa squatter, Qhamani Macaula, said the squatters were not happy with the relocation.

“We work on this side of the world, and if we do move, we want to make sure that we will have basic services which we don’t have now. And we want to see the land where they plan to move us,” he said.