Once a bustling hub, the trashed and abandoned Soshanguve train station has become a breeding ground for criminal activity, impacting the local economy and the area’s safety.
Formerly known as one of the most sophisticated and busiest stations, the Soshanguve train station earned the nickname “ghost town” as it was shut down amidst the global health panic in early 2020. Unfortunately, valuable metal and materials were stripped from the station’s fixtures during the lockdown period, leaving little infrastructure behind when movement restrictions were lifted, as per The Citizen.
Bonolo Masemola, a resident from Sunvalley in Mabopane, expressed her dismay over the station’s deterioration, noting that it has turned into a desolate place littered with waste and even faeces. She shared, “This is not considered a train station anymore because the trains just pass going to the next station. It never stops.”
Residents have also voiced safety concerns. One resident, who preferred to remain anonymous out of fear, recounted a traumatic incident of being raped at the station. In addition, she stated that visible security presence during the day diminishes after a particular time, leaving the area vulnerable and unsafe.
The closure of the Soshanguve train station has instilled fear in the community and had significant financial repercussions. Phindi Masemola, a former vendor outside the station, highlighted the impact on local businesses and residents’ livelihoods. She explained how the station’s accessibility and affordable prices benefited vendors and commuters. However, the absence of a functioning station has taken a toll on their incomes.
Despite witnessing the restoration of other stations, such as Kopanong and Mabopane, residents feel neglected and disillusioned as their station remains in disrepair. Furthermore, they express disappointment in the lack of action and accountability from the authorities responsible for its maintenance, with claims that the onus falls on the local councillors rather than the City or Prasa (Passenger Rail Agency of SA).
The Soshanguve train station, once a thriving transportation hub, now stands as a mere signpost, a grim reminder of its former glory. The hope for its revival and restoration remains unfulfilled, leaving the community uncertain and longing for a safer and more prosperous future.
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