‘An accident waiting’

2016-01-26 06:00
Children play dangerously close to the unfenced railway lines in Kuku Town informal settlement in Kensington.  PHOTO: TIYESE JERANJI

Children play dangerously close to the unfenced railway lines in Kuku Town informal settlement in Kensington. PHOTO: TIYESE JERANJI

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Parents in Kuku Town informal settlement in Kensington experience constant fear when their children are playing outside, because they play close to the railway line.

Parents claim they have been trying to get the authorities to fence the area off for longer than a decade. Often the ball the children play with is blown onto the tracks.

Parents say that when they tell the authorities to fence it off because their children are in danger they are told that if anything happens to their children they will be held liable as parents.

When People’s Post visited children were playing on a patch of ground right next to the railway line. They stay right in front of Kentemade station and the area is not fenced. Some children were riding down the slope with a bicycle and playing on the tracks. Concerned parents say this is a daily occurrence.

Melanie Robinson (37), a worried mother of one, says they want the area fenced because each time their children are playing outside they have to be high alert.

“We are always worried and nervous when kids are playing outside, especially when you hear a train coming. You have to check if they are not close to the rails.

“It’s very difficult as a mother to focus on things in the house and keep an eye out that your child is not on the tracks.

“When we told them about the dangers of not having a fence they said if our children were injured we would be in trouble. It’s not right, we are not happy. We need the fence so that we will be at ease,” says Robinson.
Even if they have a park close by it will be risking their children’s lives to make them play there as it is also close to the railway line so they rather keep them close where they can watch them.
Another parent, Chandrey Goliath (38), says the wind is strong in their area and it’s a great danger when children play outside.
“The kids can easily be blown onto the tracks. It really scares us when children play outside. We can’t keep them inside the shacks because they want to play outside. They can’t even go to the park. We worry a lot about our children. We want a safe place for them to play,” she says.
Apart from residents worrying about their children the area has allegedly become an easy target for robbers, because they can run away easily.
Verona Joseph, a community leader, says she has tried to get the authorities to put up a fence but nothing has happened.
“After several emails and phone calls they came and took measurements to fence the area. That was in August and until now we are still waiting,” says Joseph.
Ward councillor Lisa Mcbride, agrees: “This must be a priority. Kids are in danger. I’m really angry at the criminal negligence of Transnet. They can’t keep promising and nothing is done.”

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