Mitchells Plain residents are sharing their grievances against the relocation of railway dwellers into their area that have set up homes illegally along the train lines in Langa and Philippi.
The Housing Development Agency (HDA) and Prasa are planning to relocate the illegal dwellers to the Weltevreden Wedge at the Philippi Horticultural Area (PHA) in ward 43. The Weltevreden Wedge falls between Jakes Gerwell Drive and Weltevreden Drive.
Prasa and the HDA have approached private land owners in the planned relocation area in the hope to acquire the land.
The residents are concerned that an influx of lawless people will pose a huge threat to the community.
Ward councillor, Elton Jansen said that supporting more people in the area is not possible as there are already numerous existing challenges in the area that relate to basic services on land belonging to other spheres of government and private owners.
“I am not against the opening of the Railway Lines. PRASA should take responsibility for not protecting their property. There are 2 big informal settlements ALREADY in that wedge. Re-locating people here is not just a threat to the Mitchell’s Plain community but also to the farming community in the PHA which is a very important part of the Cape Town economy.”
He added: “Over the last couple of days I was called a liar by certain community leaders and local opposition party members and was threatened and harassed by the agent to the property owner on the wedge to withdraw my statement. I will stand by my statement.”
Jansen shared a statement pertaining to the Central Line Recovery Plan:
- “On 8 June 2022 PRASA informed various councillors from all political parties about their Central Line Recovery Plan and their plans to relocate people to an undisclosed site on the Weltevreden Wedge. I registered my objection as the ward councillor and Sub-Council 17 Chairperson at this meeting on behalf of the constituency I represent.”
- “I could not make this information public for several reasons which include that there has been no confirmation that PRASA has purchased this land, I am reliably informed that PRASA has still NOT bought the land on the Wedge and no Land Use Application or Planning Application has been submitted to Council for Sub-Council 17 to officially approve the public participation process which will allow the public to comment during the public participation period. Public participation is legally required when a planning application is submitted.”
- “It must be noted that PRASA cannot relocate any person without these approvals.”
- “I herewith assure you that should PRASA ever submit their application to the City of Cape Town and it is tabled at Sub-Council 17, we will make sure that the residents of Mitchell’s Plain are made aware of where and how to comment against/for this application.”
- “I do not support any relocation to the wedge and will personally advocate against it.”
- “Having said that, we all want to see the Central Railway Line re-open but the Weltevreden wedge is NOT a suitable site/location.”
8 000 dwellers make up the communities that have been occupying spaces near train stations since the hard COVID-19 lockdowns and will now be relocated.
A petition has already been started, with residents calling for a stop to the planned relocation.