A R1.4bn "mega project" has been presented to Khayelitsha community stakeholders to resuscitate its practically defunct rail service, the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa said on Thursday.
Newly appointed administrator Bongisizwe Mpondo and several of his technical team reported back to local leaders two weeks after an initial meeting, where he discussed a plan to restore the Cape Town's busiest line which has been closed since October due to vandalism.
"The mega project of R1.4b will aim to involve communities with a view to create employment opportunities for unemployed youth and transfer of technical skills as well as training and development," Prasa spokesperson Makhosini Mgitywa said in a statement.
"In the second session, stakeholders were presented with plans and progress to date on how the restoration will unfold. Delegates were invited to join and provide input into one of three working groups, namely infrastructure, security or bus rail alternatives."
Making use of drones
Last month, Mpondo said the agency's priority was securing its central line before services could be restored, GroundUp reported at the time.
This involved a comprehensive fencing programme, an increase in visible security, and the use of technology such as drones.
Mpondo added a limited service would be restored on the line by September, with full service being ready by April next year.
On Thursday, he said he was encouraged by the input and participation received, admitting Prasa had in the past "ignored the softer side of engineering projects".
"We want to ensure that when the trains operate again, they not only provide mobility but also leave a legacy of work creation and economic opportunities."
- Compiled by Tammy Petersen