Build shacks on tracks

2019-01-24 06:00
Bakyarders from Samora Machel have decided to build shacks over train tracks.PHOTO: siyabonga kalipa

Bakyarders from Samora Machel have decided to build shacks over train tracks.PHOTO: siyabonga kalipa

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In a bizarre twist of fate, the battle for land and houses has taken on a new form for a group of Samora Machel residents in Phillipi; they have decided to build their shacks smack bang on railway tracks of the defunct train depot in the area.

Residents, most of whom say they have been staying in backyards, moved onto the tracks at the beginning of January, and the vacant space is being filled by the day.

While some of the shacks are build between the tracks, near the sleepers, others have been built on top of the tracks. Residents said they needed their own land, as they were gatvol of paying rent.

Sivuyile Skade (38) said they were previously backyarders, living in Samora Machel, but because of the high rent, decided to occupy that land.

“Imagine having to pay rent, buy electricity and still you are not well treated by your landlord, that is why we decided to put our shacks here,” he said.

He said the piece of land they have occupied has not been used for a long time.

He said while they have not been removed from the land, they hope to get electricity and water because they lack those so far.

Skade did admit that the train tracks are a danger to their children.

Philip Zulu (57) said he had been renting for 11 years and since he is unemployed, could not take it anymore.

He said politicians make a lot of empty promises when they need people to vote for them.

“The politicians only care about us when it’s close to elections, because they want our votes,” said Zulu.

Unemployed Fuzile Mlomo (46) also added his voice to the complaints.

He said he has three children, who he has to support and could no longer afford to pay rent as well.

He said they have to pay rent, electricity and pay for water.

Metrorail spokesperson Riana Scott said they are aware of the issue and that their team is investigating to establish what can be done to resolve the matter.

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