Locals cry out for walls over rail line

2018-05-31 06:00

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Khayelitsha residents living along railway lines have urged the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (Prasa) to build a perimeter wall that will prevent people and children crossing and playing there, respectively.

The residents have also described the open railways lines as dangerous to the community.

Silvia Gquka from G Section in Site B, said:“Building the wall along railway lines will minimize accidents because people will have to go through a footbridge. Sometimes people crossing the railway lines are drunk and are hit by trains.”

She said they have informed their councillor of this, to no avail.

“It’s almost a decade now waiting for the railway lines to be fenced. I don’t know what they are waiting for, because people are dying,” said Gquka.

But, Funeka Dyogi from Tsepetsepe informal settlement blames criminals for vandalising the fence.

“Our children are in danger because they are playing on the railway lines. As (a) community, we need to be responsible and protect our facilities. I don’t blame Prasa, but we are appealing for help to build a wall along the railway lines just for the sake of our children,” said Dyogi.

Ward 94 councillor Patrick Mngxunyeni said it was Prasa’s responsibility to look after train stations and railway lines.

“The community members are to blame because Prasa put the fence, but the community stole it (the fence).

“Even if they (Prasa) can build the wall, criminals will still pilfer those bricks,” he said.

He said there are footbridges but people instead avoid them because of concerns for their safety.

“They get robbed (on the footbridges).

“Criminals hide under the bridge whenever someone is approaching.

“And they wait till you are in the middle of the bridge and emerge from nowhere to attack you. So, people don’t use them (footbridges) anymore, especially at night,” said Mngxunyeni.

Prasa spokesperson Nana Zenani advised the community to write a letter to Prasa’s regional offices in town and state their grievances.

She added: “The communities need to form forums to protect their facilities against criminals. It’s useless to build a wall now and later there bricks are stolen or vandalised. Councillors or community leaders need to take responsibility to ensure constituents are safe.”

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