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Informal settlement residents will not move until they see the land promised by Mbalula

Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula and the Prasa board visited the Siyahlala Informal Settlement in Langa. Picture Sisonke Mlamla

Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula and the Prasa board visited the Siyahlala Informal Settlement in Langa. Picture Sisonke Mlamla

Published May 20, 2022

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Cape Town - A week after Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula visited Siyahlala informal settlement residents and said vacant land had been found for them to move to by November, no further details have been forthcoming from his office.

Mbalula’s acting spokesperson Lawrence Venkile did not respond to multiple questions on the newly identified land.

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During a visit to Langa last Friday, to assess progress in bringing back the Central Line, Mbalula had engaged with community leaders on the planned relocation of the illegal informal settlements on the rail infrastructure.

Mbalula told residents that his department has identified a vacant land which they will move to by November.

Residents whose homes are built on railway tracks have meanwhile said they will not move from the area without being shown the newly identified land.

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Siyahlala informal settlement committee chairperson, Mxoleleni Ngwetyana said residents will only move out when the City and the national government can show them the land identified.

“Mbalula visited our area last Friday and he made all these promises that his department had identified a piece of land but when we questioned him about the whereabouts of land he mumbled. One thing he must know is that we are not moving from this area without seeing the identified land, we have to view the site so that we can be satisfied. He told us that we will be moving in November. What puzzled us as the leadership of this area was the absence of City of Cape Town representatives during Mbalula’s visit and I believe that Mbalula can not identify land without working with the City and Prasa,” said Ngwetyana.

Mayco member for Human Settlement Malusi Booi said there are various pieces of land and infrastructure belonging to Prasa that has been illegally occupied.

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“Prasa is the responsible authority to deal with the unlawful occupants on its land, and that of its entities. It must follow all legal prescripts and make sure it complies to all by-laws and legislation.

“In one of the larger unlawfully occupied areas in Langa, the National Government’s Department of Public Works and Infrastructure has identified potential land for the people occupying the Prasa land in Langa. The Housing Development Agency is carrying out feasibility studies and will need to obtain planning approval if the land is found to be suitable. These entities are the lead authorities in this matter. The City will support all feasible actions where possible,” said Booi.

During the tabling of the budget vote for the 2022/2023 financial year this week, Mbalula had said: “We must also appreciate that the Langa to Bellville via Sarepta is currently affected by illegal occupation on the line and extensive infrastructure damage. Work is also under way to recover the services between Langa and Nyanga as well as Cape Town to Nyanga, as part of Phase 1 of the recovery program. Phase 2 entails recovery of the Nyanga to Chris Hani segment as well as Nyanga to Kapteinsklip. These segments will take longer to recover due to the extent of the damage to the infrastructure. We anticipate completing this recovery and resume services by December 2022,” Mbalula said.

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Cape Times

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