Eerste River residents refuse to host people who built shacks on railway lines
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CAPE TOWN - The residents of Eerste River have circulated a petition to prevent the proposed move of Langa residents to their area.
The residents of Siyahlala informal settlement in Langa erected shacks on the railway lines of Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (Prasa), which saw the train service on the central line halted.
Prasa issued the residents with a court order and promised to assist them by moving them to an identified piece of land which is said to be in Eerste River.
This did not sit well with the Eerste River community who drafted a petition to oppose the move.
Eerste River residents said in a statement that the target environment was selected without following due process that is demanded of all other rate-payers, including social and environmental impact assessments, consultation with affected neighbours and parties.
The statement said the land selected from the options available, in Eerste River as in the case with the Langa land, is not only situated next to an important Prasa railway line but also adjacent to Eskom power lines and the Van Riebeeck double carriage way.
“Should the relocation be proceeded with, the same arguments used by Prasa in their court application will soon manifest namely, no public transport due to violence at trains and also in this case, cars and motorists, vandalism and also in this case the established neighbourhoods, settlement on railway tracks and Eskom power lines, which will make the railway lines, electricity supply and roads unsafe and impossible to operate and use,” read the statement.
According to the statement, the existing facilities and services in the area are already stressed to the maximum, electricity supply is already extremely unstable and fails continually multiple times per week, the sewerage treatment plant is overflowing and will only be able to deal with increased load in early 2024, schools are already unable to cope with the current community requirements with children having to travel to other areas daily for their education, or overflowing onto the streets, and the insufficient policing allocated to the area.
Siyahlala community leader Mxoleleni Mgutyana said they were not aware of the petition.
“We will see how we handle it when it happens because we still want to move from where we are living,” he said.
Prasa spokesperson Bane Ndlovu said they had been made aware informally of the receiving community residents signing a petition.
He said the intention was to ensure the illegal occupants of the rail reserve in Langa are relocated and resettled on or before November 26.
“The process of communication with residents of Eerste River has not started but it is in plans,” said Ndlovu.