Grahamstown Station

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John Ashworth
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Grahamstown Station

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Steve Appleton
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Re: Grahamstown Station

Post by Steve Appleton »

I received this communication:
There has been some movement since we submitted out petition to Transnet.

DA MP Andrew Whitfield has had a response on a written question to Minister of Public Entrerprises, who more or less said there was no problem. We have had a reply from the acting Transnet CEO Karl Socikwa essentially acknowledging the problem but claiming nothing can be done unless the building is occupied.

We have nonetheless scored a name of a responsible person to whom we can direct the police, who previously claimed they were powerless because they could not prosecute if the owner would not appear in court.

We are planning a public meeting in February, and looking into further actions to follow up, including identifying anyone with an interest in taking over the lease on the building.

Meanwhile we have a Makana Civil Society Coalition of over 50 organizations that is trying to work with the Administrator appointed to get our municipality back on its feet; it has a Facebook page that will contain announcements and news. If you do Facebook, please go there and Like it:

https://www.facebook.com/MakanaCivilSocietyCoalition
Thanks again for your support.
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Philip Machanick
Department of Computer Science, Rhodes University
"To train or not to train, that is the question"
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Steve Appleton
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Re: Grahamstown Station

Post by Steve Appleton »

Recent article in Grahamstown's "Grocotts Mail" (8 January 2015).
Group slams station response

The Grahamstown Residents Association (GRA) says it finds it "totally unacceptable" that Transnet is doing nothing to protect Grahamstown Station from destruction.

For some years since rail services stopped operating in Grahamstown, the building has been successively stripped of fittings and furnishings.

During the past year, vandals and metal thieves have come close to entirely destroying the building, removing floors, roofs, window and door frames, and even chipping away concrete platforms to remove structural metal.

A visit to the site in August last year prompted DA MP Andrew Whitfield to take up the cause of the station, raising its plight in a Parliamentary question.

The GRA, meanwhile, addressed a petition to Transnet, Makana Municipality, the provincial legislature, the SA Heritage Resources Agency and Parliament, drawing attention to the destruction of the heritage site due to vandalism, and the consequent loss of the opportunity to reinstate rail transport in the area.

In response to the petition, Acting Group Executive of Transnet Karl Socikwa confirmed that Transnet SOC Ltd was the registered owner of the Grahamstown Station property.

He said while Transnet was concerned about the vandalism, it was up to their lessee Prasa, the Passenger Rail and Transport Agency, to first find a new tenant.

"Transnet will only be able to reinstate the station building once an alternative use and occupier has been identified," Socikwa said in a letter dated 24 December 2014.

The GRA in its response to the reply said Transnet should employ guards to prevent further destruction.

"These premises were erected with taxpayer money and Transnet has a duty to the taxpayer and to the Auditor General to ensure that State property is not vandalised and stolen," reads the letter, signed by GRA vie-chairperson Fleur Way-Jones. Way-Jones said the Association would be organising a public meeting about the matter in the near future.

Shetold Grocott's Mail she was concerned about the discrepancy between Transnet's comments about the discontinuation of branch lines and the Minister of Public Enterprises Lynne Brown's assurances that the station would be restored."
"To train or not to train, that is the question"
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