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Fikile Mbalula says railway lines will soon be up and running in Western Cape

Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula. Picture: Bongani Shilulbane/African News Agency (ANA)

Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula. Picture: Bongani Shilulbane/African News Agency (ANA)

Published May 4, 2022

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Cape Town - Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula has indicated that they will soon be relocating people who have built shacks on the railway lines in the Western Cape, after they found a piece of land for their resettlement.

This has led to the disruption of the railway services in the Central Line in the Cape metro and other major routes.

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Mbalula, who was part of Ministers in the Economics cluster answering questions in the National Assembly on Wednesday, said they were working tirelessly to return trains full-time to the rail tracks in the Western Cape.

He said he was going to meet with the Minister of Human Settlements on Thursday to finalise preparations for the land that will be given to people who will be resettled.

Political parties have complained for some time that the government has not been able to move people into other pieces of land and allow the trains to run on the Central Line and other areas.

But Mbalula said on Wednesday that they were working with all stakeholders to ensure that people were moved from the railway tracks in the Western Cape to other areas.

“As we are speaking now, we are working with the government of the Western Cape, the Cape Town Municipality, Human Settlements and the Department of Public Works,” said Mbalula.

“The Department of Human Settlements has secured a piece of land, where we will be moving the people to comply with the court order,” he said in reference to the High Court order that people building shacks on the railway must be moved and the government must find land for them to relocate to.

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“What we are doing as the passenger rail, particularly Prasa, is to continue with our work. If you go to Langa, you will see the work that we are doing to secure the rail network, while people are waiting to be resettled.

“We believe that we must continue with our work to secure the network. I can assure you that you are going to see the line opened very soon for trains, while people are resettled to a new piece of land in the Western Cape. We are working tirelessly to move people from rail tracks in the Western Cape,” he said.

He said they were working hard to ensure the Central Line was opened, to allow for the smooth running of trains.

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The rail network has seen a number of shacks being built by people and this increased during the lockdown period.

The government has been criticised by opposition parties for not ensuring the rail network was protected and that vandalism was costing the State money, as there were no trains running and infrastructure was damaged.

But Mbalula said they will ensure that the line is protected.

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“We are going to move people. Even before we do that, the work of getting trains running in the Central Line has started and you are going to see the trains running,” he said.

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