The Western Cape government and the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (Prasa) have decided to bring back the central line. The two parties announced that they have signed a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) on Monday, November 16.

The central line, which is Cape Town’s busiest train route, has been inoperational since October 2019, according to GroundUp. It serves communities such as Khayelitsha, Mitchells Plain, Nyanga and Bonteheuwel.

The line has suffered severe damage because of theft and vandalism and a number of informal settlements have popped up on the defunct railway lines, according to the Cape Argus.

“The Central Line is needed to realise jobs, safety and dignity for the people of the Cape Flats and its functioning is of paramount importance to us. Our understanding is that the institutional failures within Prasa are the primary impediment to meaningful progress,” according to Transport and Public Works MEC Bonginkosi Madikizela.

As per the agreement, the province and the City will provide the people living on the tracks with alternative land to live on and help with the protection of the infrastructure and travelling passengers.

This is not the first time Prasa and the City have partnered — Metrorail’s spokesperson, Riana Scott said that previous Memoranda of Understandings (MOU) included the Western Cape supplying scramblers and installing high-mast lighting at railway stations and funding the Rail Enforcement Unit (REU), according to the Argus.

The MOA includes provincial support to the railway agency, in the form of an interim bus service that will operate between Khayelitsha, Mitchells Plain and Langa. It also includes interim hybrid service of electricity-powered trains between Langa and Cape Town, according to Daylin Mitchell, the Democratic Alliance’s (DA) spokesperson on transport and public works in the Western Cape.

Metrorail also announced that its northern line, which links Cape Town and Malmesbury, will resume daily operation from Monday, November 15, according to the Cape Argus.

Picture: Ashraf Hendricks/GroundUp

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