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Mbalula: Work is under way to get Cape Town's rail network back on track

The Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (Prasa) is investing over R1 billion to repair the line.

Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula. Picture: Twitter/@GovernmentZA

CAPE TOWN - Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula on Monday said work was under way to get the Western Cape’s busiest line, the central line, back on track.

The Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (Prasa) is investing over R1 billion to repair the line.

Mbalula said at media briefing last week that in the province the biggest challenge was the central line.

Stripping railway lines and stealing cables has become a regular occurrence in Cape Town. The central line was closed for a year due to ongoing vandalism and during the lockdown criminals attacked the network again, taking just about anything they could to sell.

The United National Transport Union’s (Untu) spokesperson Sonja Carstens said people had also built informal structures on top of the train tracks so before any work could actually begin, residents needed to be relocated.

Mbalula said officials were working on this.

“This notion that it will take Prasa 20 years to recover the line is not correct. We are working with the city and the Department of Human Settlements to relocate the people who have built shacks,” he said.

Carstens said when that process is completed, the line needs to be secured while modernisation work is being done.

They are suggesting that while crucial work is under way, soldiers should patrol the railway line to protect assets and police guard the stations platforms.

“We need to fix the cables, the power outages, and the platforms and railway tracks,” Carstens said.

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