Sub-council 17 chairperson Elton Jansen says the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa’s (PRASA) temporary relocation of 900 households to Stock Road in Philippi is illegal and the land is not zoned for human habitation.
The households were moved in order to recover the rest of the Central Line from Nyanga to Khayelitsha, Mitchell’s Plain and Chris Hani which had been blocked by squatters.
The City has provided basic services such as water and sanitation on the Prasa-owned land, said Prasa spokesperson, Andiswa Makanda.
“The permanent relocation of the railway squatters occupying the Central Line is subject to the statutory processes and by-laws of the City of Cape Town. The plans for the relocations are waiting for the outcome of the rezoning application from the City of Cape Town,” said Ms Makanda.
Mr Jansen said some of the people were relocated to a site in Stock Road, Philippi, “again next to the railway line”.
“There is no record for a land use application or pre-consultation for any development on CA 693/10 Philippi. According to the City’s Viewer the property is zoned Agricultural and hence a change in use application was supposed to have been submitted by PRASA to the City. It was not done therefore PRASA has floated City By-laws and illegally relocated people to land not zoned for human habitation,” said MrJansen.
However, Prasa has submitted a Land Use application to the City of Cape Town.
In November last year a mass meeting was held to address the Central Line issue and also allow residents to submit comments on the public participation process. The deadline for submission was on Monday November 27 (“Central line relocation meeting erupts”, Plainsman, November 15, 2023; “Commuters need rail services back on track”, February 16, 2022; “’Plain residents against railway squatters”, September 7, 2022 and “Councillors not in support of relocation”, September 22, 2022).
Mr Jansen said a report will be compiled where all public input will be considered and tabled at a Municipal Planning Tribunal. “I do not have the date for when this item will appear on the agenda,” he said.
Mr Jansen said his stance on the Prasa relocation to the land called the Philippi Wedge remains that they do not support the relocation.
“It must be noted that the City of Cape Town cannot stop any entity from submitting planning applications. Sub-council-17s position remains the same. We do not support this application,” he said.
Mr Jansen said Prasa made no contact with Sub-council 17 to discuss the matter, since the public participation process last year.
Eddie Andrews, the City’s deputy mayor and mayoral committee member for spatial planning and environment, said the City received approximately 925 comments.
“However, we still need to confirm the final number. The nature of the comments still need to be analysed. This will be done once the Case Officer starts with the drafting of the reports to be submitted to the Municipal Planning Tribunal (MPT). No decision has been made by the MPT as yet,” he said.
No date can be provided as to when the reports are expected to serve at the MPT, said the deputy mayor.
The decision of the tribunal will be communicated to the applicant and valid objectors as part of the process, he said.
The City’s Mayoral committee member for water and sanitation, Zahid Badroodien said water deliveries are ongoing in the area, two times a week. The water tanker was last onsite on Thursday January 25, until 3pm.
The City is providing essential services to those who have been relocated already in terms of the intergovernmental agreement pertaining to this relocation with 40 chemical toilets on site, about 60 container toilets were also made available by December 14, last year, an additional 30 container toilets were completed by December 20, last year and the toilets are serviced four times per week, said Mr Badroodien.
According to Ms Makanda, services on the Central Line reopened in June 2022 between Cape Town and Nyanga. Work is currently under way to recover the rest of the Central Line from Nyanga to Khayelitsha, Mitchell’s Plain and Chris Hani, said Ms Makanda.