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[PHOTOS] Citizen opens Muizenberg railway crossing with angle grinder

11 June 2021 11:34 AM

Lester Kiewit talks to Muizenberg local business owner and a resident about the latest developments.
  • The York Road level crossing providing access between the areas above and below the railway line has been locked for weeks
  • Residents and business owners have been complaining but Prasa says continued vandalism of the gate locks means they will stay shut for now
  • Now a mystery person has used an angle grinder to remove a part of the palisade fence and this has helped business flourish again as foot traffic between York Road and Surfers' Corner resumes
  • However, the paved level crossing remains closed and excludes elderly and disabled people says a Muizenberg local

Three weeks ago a caller phoned in to report that the railway gate at the main crossing between the upper side of Muizenberg and the Surfer's Corner car park has been locked by the Passenger rail Agency (Prasa) for two weeks.

RELATED: Why has Muizenberg railway crossing gate been closed for 2 weeks, asks listener?

Later, Lester spoke to Riana Scott from Prasa. She said that ongoing vandalism of the gate and locks necessitated the rail agency in locking the gate.

RELATED: Metrorail responds: Muizenberg railway crossing gate to stay locked (for now)

During the 21 May interview, Scott said Metrorail technicians are exploring stronger and more robust anti vandalisation locks but she believes the social issues such as drug use leading to this behaviour needs to be addressed in the area.

She implored people not to cross the railway line but to use the Atlantic Road or subway alternatives, which many residents say is both inconvenient and dangerous.

But now a few weeks later the railing fence that people were climbing over has miraculously been removed.

No one knows who cut the rail fence earlier this week but the result is people now once again being able to cross the railway line between York Road to Surfer's Corner.

The owner of The Corner Surf Shop in York Road, Muizenberg Tessa Moore, says she has no idea who is responsible for this act but adds that there is a noticeable increase in trade to the small businesses that have been struggling for the past few months after the pedestrian gate was locked shut by Prasa.

It is not the gate that has been cut but a short bit of fencing. Mr Richard Walker [Prasa regional manager Western Cape] was accusing residents of breaking open fences now, but that hole in the fence has been there for years next to the level crossing - so if he was that concerned about safety there they would have replaced that bit of palisade fencing yers ago.

Tessa Moore, owner - The Corner Surf Shop

Moore says perusing Prasa's vision statement and their fundamental principles made her laugh:

'Prasa should facilitate access via a gateway to a better quality of life for individuals and communities to access socio-economic opportunities.'

However, people have had drops in their turnover between 40 and 50% in their businesses.

Tessa Moore, owner - The Corner Surf Shop

She says one restaurant has related how it lost around 40 daily customers who would end their walk at the cafe for coffee and breakfast.

Now with the access liberated the customers are back again.

Tessa Moore, owner - The Corner Surf Shop

Caller Heather says the removal of this small fence is not going to help the situation for disabled and elderly people. The paved level crossing between the still locked gates remains closed.

That does not help the elderly or the infirm who normally use that level crossing to go from York Road across to Surfers' Corner to possibly walk on the beach or promenade.

Heather, Caller - Muizenberg

It is absolutely untenable. People in wheelchairs or older people have to go around into Atlantic Road. I wish somebody would take an angle grinder to those gates.

Heather, Caller - Muizenberg

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11 June 2021 11:34 AM