A Wynberg civic organisation has expressed its increasing frustration with The Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (Prasa) as their request to clean up Prasa-owned land in the area is seemingly falling on deaf ears.
The Wynberg East Civic Association (Weca) has been calling for an urgent intervention by Prasa at a Prasa-owned plot (where a group of homeless people have set up camp) next to Yusufeyyah Masjid in Mosque Road for some months.
Prasa did do a clean-up of the plot on Tuesday 22 February (“Field ‘a hot potato”, People’s Post, 2 March) but instead of carting the rubbish away, most of it was shifted to the bottom-right corner of the field.
Setting the scene for “Prasa’s current abilities to meet expectations from the public”, Prasa’s spokesperson Riana Scott said vagrancy and illegal settlements increased at an unprecedented rate as the economy continue to worsen and unemployment rose. According to Scott, the shutdown of the railway during the hard lockdown and the subsequent vandalism of Prasa property “all but brought the system to its knees, leaving an incredible burden of repairs and reinstatement of assets and infrastructure”.
She added that Prasa service providers and contractors were and continue to be subjected to the same restrictions of limited employees and slower production rates, impacting supplies to restore services.
Scott said, just like all the other public transport modes, the commuter rail reports a drastically lower patronage level. To date, limited train services operate from Cape Town to Retreat via Heathfield (Cape Flats); Retreat – Fish Hoek with a shuttle to Simons Town (South); Malmesbury (North); Kraaifontein (North); and Langa (Central).
“Reduced revenue equals reduced funds to operate trains and perform maintenance and meet other commitments,” she said, adding that as Prasa is able to augment limited services and resume more, it is anticipated that patronage levels will slowly increase, bringing more revenue and enabling Prasa to meet commitments.
She said Prasa’s focus was to restore as many services as can safely be introduced. Planned resumptions during April (all issues considered) are the Stellenbosch/Eerste River/Strand and Worcester services.
“We ask that stakeholders and customers bear with us as we work towards restoring normality to rail operations,” Scott said.