Informal dwellers waiting to be evicted from Langa rail lines
By Sisonke Mlamla 42m ago
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Cape Town – Residents from the Siyahlala informal settlement, who have built their shacks on the railway tracks in Langa, spent their Wednesday hoping not to be evicted, after they were issued letters of notice urging them to vacate within 10 days, which ended yesterday.
However, residents said they did not see nor hear any signs from the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (Prasa), after its officials threatened to seek an eviction order from the courts if they did not vacate the premises.
Since Monday last week, Prasa has been visiting the community, with its board chairperson Leonard Ramatlakane saying the aim of the visit was to establish the basis upon which the rail tracks were occupied, and with the hope to resume the rail services on the Central Line.
A resident, Mlondolozi Magqabi, said they were not going anywhere if the entity and the City does not give them land not far from Langa to build their homes.
The City said: "Discussions between stakeholders on the way forward are ongoing."
Siyahlala informal settlement committee secretary, Nomzamo Gatuya, who shares a shack with seven people, said ten days was not enough time for them to relocate.
She reiterated that if Prasa wanted them to relocate they should have given them land with service delivery including water, electricity and toilets to build their homes.
Some advocacy groups including Reclaim the City and the Social Justice Coalition intervened in support of the residents.
Ndifuna Ukwazi researcher Michael Clark said the law was clear, where occupiers were at risk of being rendered homeless as a result of an eviction, the municipality has a constitutional obligation to provide alternative accommodation.
Metrorail spokesperson Riana Scott said the relocation project falls under the domain of the Prasa chairman, and she referred the Cape Argus to Ramatlakane's spokesperson Bane Ndlovu, who did not respond by the time of publication.
Transport and Public Works MEC Bonginkosi Madikizela said the Western Cape Government has been working closely with Prasa to assist in the restoration of the collapsed rail service in the city and the broader province.