South Africa: Crumbling Philippi Station On Cape Town's Central Line Highlights Prasa's Enormous Challenges


Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula recently said he hoped the Central Line in Cape Town would be fully operational by July. But Philippi station, a key station on the dysfunctional line, is a reminder of the issues that need to be addressed: vandalism, theft and security.

From the outside, Philippi train station in Cape Town is an example of many public transport interchanges across the nation: it's a hive of activity, with taxis everywhere and people selling everything from food to furniture. But inside the station, it is clear that it requires a massive amount of work before it can become operational again.

The station is on Cape Town's Central Line, which came to a halt in November 2019 after sustained vandalism and theft of essential infrastructure belonging to the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (Prasa).

During the Covid-19 lockdown, vandalism and theft of infrastructure worsened, but another problem arose: many homeless people started living on the disused train tracks.

The rail agency and Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula are on a mission to get the Central Line running by July. During his State of the Nation Address in 2020, President Cyril Ramaphosa announced R1.4-billion would be allocated to fixing the...

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