Philippi train station shacks. People have built shacks in between train tracks no longer being utilised by Prasa. PHOT: Tracey Adams/African News Agency(ANA)

CAPE TOWN - The City of Cape Town on Wednesday said it has offered assistance to the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (Prasa) with the dismantling and removal of the unoccupied structures which were erected along the Philippi railway line this week.

The city’s mayoral committee member for human settlement, Malusi Booi, who conducted a site inspection of the land, said the engagement came following the city’s concern about the safety of the community and residents who have illegally occupied the Prasa-owned land.

“The city has therefore offered to assist with the dismantling and removal of the unoccupied structures due to the immediate health and safety concerns that exist. It is therefore imperative that immediate steps are taken to protect this Prasa-land from the illegal occupation,” said Booi in a statement.

“Although we absolutely understand the acute need for housing opportunities amid great demand and space constraints that we are faced with due to Cape Town’s terrain and geographical position as a peninsula, we must also consider the health and safety aspects that could affect our residents. Housing delivery must also continue to happen in a fair and structured way to ensure that there is no queue jumping.”

He said illegal land invasions were affecting the city’s service delivery plans, social stability, as well as the financial planning of the city. 

“New informal settlement areas that have resulted from recent land invasions have not been planned or budgeted for. The City is currently reassessing some of its processes to see how our anti-land invasion operations can be optimised, and to enhance partnerships.”

African News Agency (ANA)