Macassar residents “will fight tooth and nail” against PRASA’s plan to relocate shack dwellers

Hundreds marched on Saturday to protest against PRASA’s plan to move shack dwellers occupying the Central Line to Macassar

| By

Macassar residents marched on Saturday to protest against a plan lan to relocate about 2,000 shack dwellers to the area. Photo: Sandiso Phaliso

  • Hundreds of residents of Macassar in Cape Town marched on Saturday to oppose a plan to relocate about 2,000 shack dwellers to the area.
  • Residents complained earlier this month after PRASA proposed to relocate the families occupying Metrorail’s Central Line to Macassar.
  • Residents say this will put more pressure on already overburdened social welfare, sanitation, electricity and police services.

Hundreds of people marched through the streets of Macassar on Saturday to show their dissatisfaction with a plan to relocate shackdwellers occupying the railway line to Macassar.

Earlier this month, Macassar residents complained after a proposal by the Passenger Rail Agency of SA (PRASA) to relocate about 2,000 families occupying land along Metrorail’s Central Line to Macassar. Residents of Macassar fear this will put more pressure on already overburdened social welfare, sanitation, electricity and police services

People moved onto land along the Central Line during the Covid lockdown in 2020 because many of them could no longer afford to pay rent and there are still thousands of families living on the rail reserves. Efforts to relocate the people started in December and have been marked by several delays and disputes.

Organisers of the march on Saturday told GroundUp that over 10,000 Macassar residents had signed a petition to oppose the relocation.

“Residents do not support the relocation of the illegal occupants to Macassar,” said Ward 109 Councillor Peter Helfrich (DA). Helfrich said people in the community were angry because they had not been consulted and the decision to move more people into the area had been taken without properly considering the impact on services.

Community leader Waseemah Flaendorp said she was “infuriated” by the lack of consultation. “PRASA is about to face the fiercest opposition they have ever encountered. We are prepared to stand our ground and fight tooth and nail against this,” said Flaendorp.

This is not the only dispute over land to be used to permanently relocate families living on the railway reserve in Langa and Philippi. More than 900 comments have been submitted to the City of Cape Town to oppose the rezoning of two parcels of land near Weltevreden Road in Philippi.

In November 2023, GroundUp reported on a protest by a group of Mitchells Plain residents led by members of the National Coloured Congress who claimed that they had not been consulted and strongly objected to families being relocated from the railway line to the area near Weltevreden Valley.

PRASA has said that the permanent relocation to the Weltevreden site is dependent on the outcome of a rezoning application it submitted to the City of Cape Town. The outcome is expected at the end of April 2024.

In a recent statement, PRASA spokesperson Andiswa Makanda, on behalf of the Project Management Committee, said the committee was currently “identifying suitable land and considering various land parcels, including state-owned land”.

The committee includes representatives from the national and provincial departments of Transport, Human Settlements, Public Works, the Housing Development Agency, PRASA, and the City of Cape Town.

“The Macassar land parcels have been previously explored as a possible viable option; however, no acquisition has been concluded. Public participation will then be undertaken according to the legislated processes,” the committee said in the statement.

Nobesuthu Xoloba, a community leader of the people living on the Langa rail reserve, said people are willing to move once proper planning has been done.

TOPICS:  Prasa / Metrorail

Next:  How the Lottery used an ethics company to launder money

Previous:  Finally, five months after police were filmed assaulting a barber, they have been charged

© 2024 GroundUp. This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

You may republish this article, so long as you credit the authors and GroundUp, and do not change the text. Please include a link back to the original article.

We put an invisible pixel in the article so that we can count traffic to republishers. All analytics tools are solely on our servers. We do not give our logs to any third party. Logs are deleted after two weeks. We do not use any IP address identifying information except to count regional traffic. We are solely interested in counting hits, not tracking users. If you republish, please do not delete the invisible pixel.