Prasa’s Wynberg ‘eviction’ was for the safety of squatters

Efforts have started to remove squatters who settled near the Wynberg train station. Picture: Leon Knipe

Efforts have started to remove squatters who settled near the Wynberg train station. Picture: Leon Knipe

Published Feb 29, 2024


Cape Town - Squatters who were removed from near the Wynberg train station at the weekend have volunteered to be taken to safe spaces, the Passenger Rail Agency of SA (Prasa) said.

This follows an outcry by ward councillor Carmen Siebritz, who slammed the parastatal for removing the invaders “illegally".

Prasa has refuted the claim and said it engaged with stakeholders.

Siebritz said the land invasion happened during the Covid-19 lockdown.

Prasa spokesperson Andiswa Makanda said that since 2022 they had engaged regularly with those affected to address the issue of unlawful occupation of its land adjacent to the Wynberg train station.

“The occupied land is situated near the Yusufeyyah Masjid and a taxi rank managed by the City of Cape Town.

“This area, referred to as ‘The Hill’, has been a focal point of our collaborative efforts.

“Our engagements are aimed at addressing the escalating security incidents occurring in and around the occupied land to ensure the safety and wellbeing of all community members.

“Understanding the precarious nature of their situation, some of the dwellers expressed a desire to relocate in December 2023, and we were able to facilitate their move to safe shelters with the assistance from the City.”

Makanda said they reduced the number of illegal occupants from 98 to around 30 by early this month.

“On Friday, February 23, a violent incident occurred at The Hill, prompting the deployment of Prasa Protection Services personnel to intervene and restore order to the area.

“Due to concerns for their safety, the remaining dwellers requested to be relocated from the area, and they were promptly moved to safe shelters.

“Understanding the diverse challenges faced by those residing on The Hill, including the rise in criminal activities that have unfortunately become associated with the area, Prasa's Protection Services has approached this matter with a commitment to commuter and community safety,” she said.

“Our commitment to monitoring and securing the railway reserve area remains unwavering.

“Prasa extends its thanks to all stakeholders that have been involved in resolving this matter, including the City’s Department of Social Development, and all who have supported these efforts.

“We are obliged to offer passenger train services within an environment that is safe and secure for commuters, members of the community and our staff.”

[email protected]