The High Court in the Western Cape has granted the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (PRASA) an extension for the lawful relocation of residents illegally occupying the agency’s property along the Langa railway lines.
In a statement on Friday, the agency said the extension has been granted from 26 November 2021 to 31 July 2022 to allow for further consultations with affected communities.
This week, PRASA approached the High Court in the Western Cape to seek an extension on the 26 November 2021 deadline in terms of rule 27 (1) of the Rules of the Court to allow for further consultations with the affected communities and to ensure compliance with all statutory requirements.
“While the court has granted PRASA an eight month extension, further delaying our plans to refurbish the lines, if the consultative process takes less than the stipulated deadline, PRASA will commence with the relocations ahead of the July deadline,” the agency said.
In July 2021, the Western Cape High Court made an order to evict people illegally occupying PRASA property (railway lines and land) on or before 26 November 2021.
However, during the consultation processes, PRASA and officials from the Western Cape and the City of Cape Town and the Department of Public Works were confronted with challenges, including, accessibility to the earmarked land in the Eerste River.
“It is also public knowledge that the receiving community of Eerste River issued a petition in September opposing the proposed move of Langa residents to their area. Consultation with the receiving community is still ongoing.
“The closure of the Central Line has come at a huge cost and inconvenience for the hundreds and thousands of commuters who rely on affordable railway transport to get to and from work, not to mention the economy of the City of Cape Town,” PRASA said.
PRASA said the further delay to the repair work on the lines bears no comfort for the affected commuters, however, any relocation needs to comply with all statutory requirements.
This also includes public engagements, preparing of the land, including geo-tech assessment, feasibility study, environmental impact assessment, earthworks, installation of and interim engineering infrastructure.
PRASA, in partnership with the Human Development Agency (HDA) has had successful ongoing discussions with the leadership of the Langa informal dwellers.
This has allowed the official counting of the communities on the ground to take place in order to establish the official number of people to be relocated.
Source: South African Government News Agency