Macassar says no to central line occupants

Shacks erected on the Central line just outside Langa train station. Picture Henk Kruger/African News Agency(ANA)

Shacks erected on the Central line just outside Langa train station. Picture Henk Kruger/African News Agency(ANA)

Published Mar 27, 2024


Cape Town - Plans to relocate some shack dwellers, who have occupied parts of Prasa’s Central Line, have been greeted with anger by the Macassar community.

Instead, they want already existing informal settlement communities in Macassar to benefit from housing opportunities in the area.

This is after it was revealed on national television that the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (Prasa) intends to relocate the remaining central line occupants to Macassar.

Prasa has already relocated hundreds of families to a piece of land situated behind the Stock Road transport hub in Philippi.

This comes after a land invasion that happened in 2020 during the Covid-19 lockdown, during which train services were halted because of social distancing.

Christiaan Stewart, a community activist from Macassar, said if structures should be erected it should go for those from the area who need it.

“The plots or houses are available to those who do qualify for a home and not to those who are from other wards outside Macassar.

“We as the community of Macassar will not accommodate people from other wards to take ownership of houses in our residence,” he explained.

Stewart said the area already has several informal settlements, and the people living there are having difficulties.

“Those from Sandvlei are still waiting for extra toilets. It is unhealthy for 40 people to use two toilets plus kids,” Stewart said.

“The media will never report something without having all the evidence and facts together, therefore rest assured that everything stated by Prasa is correct and true.”

Prasa failed to respond to the Cape Argus queries, despite several attempts to reach out for comment.

The railway agency has previously appointed the Housing Development Agency (HDA) to undertake land acquisitions of private land, planning approval applications and the relocation of the Central Line occupiers.

The HDA said on Wednesday that it is following up on the relevant information and will issue a response in due course.

Ward councillor Peter Helfrich said that the people living in Ward 109 have already invited Prasa to a public meeting and handed them a petition expressing their opposition to this action.

Macassar ward councillor Peter Helfrich says any attack on a state facility should be strongly condemned.

He said that Prasa told the locals during the meeting that you were only considering Macassar as a potential location after receiving the petition.

“If you are now planning on changing your stance, it will only be fair for you to come to Ward 109 to, in a public meeting again, state this,” he said.

“Having this meeting will also help you understand that residents do not and will not support this move.”

Mayco member for Spatial Planning, Eddie Andrews, confirmed that no application has been submitted to the City regarding the relocation.

He said: “The City is currently dealing with the following planning matters related to the relocation of the Central Line occupiers: one for the Stock Road site; and the land use applications for 34 and 42 Weltevreden Road in Philippi, these were submitted by the HDA.”