Work underway to resume operations on Central Line

Government has purchased land to accommodate the relocation of the illegal occupants on the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (PRASA) Central Line in Cape Town.

The corridor has not been in operation since October 2019 due to theft and vandalism of the rail infrastructure and illegal occupation on the rail tracks and reserve.

The recovery of the Central Line corridor is being implemented in phases to achieve partial resumption as well as provide limited service.

Addressing the signing of a social compact between government and community stakeholders in relation to the relocation of the people, Minister of Transport, Fikile Mbalula, said the recovery of rail service in the Central Line will not be possible without the relocation of the settlement out of the rail reserve.

The Housing Development Agency (HDA), an agency of the Department of Human Settlement, was appointed to co-ordinate and facilitate the relocation program.

“The HDA has successfully negotiated and purchased 8.7Ha of land at a cost of R12.7 million from a private landowner in the Philippi Wedge area to accommodate the relocation of the Langa occupants.

“In an effort to ensure successful implementation of the programme for the relocation of the illegal occupants and ensure operationalisation on the Central Line, the HDA has undertaken a comprehensive stakeholder engagement exercise to ensure buy-in from the direct affected communities,” Mbalula said on Thursday.

The Department of Transport and HDA have concluded a service level agreement to undertake the implementation of the relocation programme.

The programme includes the relocation of occupants of the Central Line in the following areas and the respective subareas:

• Langa: Kuyasa Informal Settlement

• Philippi: Malema Informal Settlement; Down Town Informal Settlement; Eyadini Informal Settlement; Lungisile Informal Settlement; Sakhile Informal Settlement; Votsho Informal Settlement; Magwaza Informal Settlement and Lockdown Informal Settlement

• Khayelitsha: PP Informal Settlement

The Minister said Phase 1 of the service resumption provides a limited service on the network between Cape Town and Bellville (via Pinelands and Sarepta) and to Nyanga station.

”The limited service resumed on 26 July 2022 on the on the Bellville section of the network and that service is still running. The service could not be resumed on the Nyanga section of the Phase 1 due to a security incident where two contractor employees were shot on 7 June 2022 at the Bonteheuwel split,” he said.

The infrastructure works on the affected portion of the Central Line network has been further delayed and a new target date of 14 October 2022 has been determined

Phase 2 of the Central Line provides limited service beyond Nyanga station on the network of Cape Town to Chris Hani station in Khayelitsha and Kapteinsklip station in Mitchelsplain.

The limited service is planned to resume on 12 December 2022.

“However, the ongoing security incidents and interruptions of the infrastructure recovery works is placing the planned resumption date of the 12th December 2022 at great risk of not been met. PRASA has already lost two months of infrastructure works as a result of incidents at Bonteheuwel – Split, Netreg and Heideveld stations.

“PRASA is improving its security plan to respond aggressively to these security incidents which are threatening the returning of the Central Line to service,” the Minister said.

This security plan is already integrating all law enforcement unit, including the South African Police Service (SAPS), the City’s Law Enforcement Units and PRASA Security, among others.

A social compact has been concluded by three spheres of government and the affected people living on the rail reserve at Langa, Philippi and Khayelitsha.

The social compact provides a framework to govern the relationship and outlines the rights and responsibilities of all parties. The objective of the social compact is to create mutual communication, collaboration and decision-making.

Source: South African Government News Agency