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Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (PRASA) officially announced on Tuesday that 3,200 eligible beneficiaries of the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) will be provided with accommodation in Cape Town.

Sindisiwe Chikunga, minister of transport, said the R1.2 billion Mixed-Use Development Student Accommodation and Retail project has officially begun for students.

"A 7,000 square meter retail sector is being renovated as part of this landmark project to better serve locals and commuters alike. The retail precinct is planned to be finished in November 2023," the minister said, SA News reported.

Chikunga went on to share that 82% of the project has been completed and that students will start moving into the accommodation starting February 2024.

Aside from Cape Town, PRASA has also invested in development projects in Johannesburg to ensure that these projects reach their full potential. Furthermore, the minister noted that the first phase of the R575 million Goodwood Station Social Housing initiative is almost 70% finished.

"Over a thousand rental units at reasonable prices will have been made available in the City of Cape Town thanks to this ambitious project by the end of October 2023," the minister said.

Chikunga then credited the Public Real Estate Asset Management Company of South Africa, its investment company Intersite Investment, the DCI Community Housing Services, the Social Housing Regulatory Authority (SHRA), the Infrastructure Fund and the City of Cape Town for coming together to help ensure the success of the project.

"It will include the construction of 1,055 affordable dwelling units on PRASA-owned land near the Goodwood Station, as well as a 5,000 square meter retail facility on the station deck. The completion of the project's second stage is anticipated for the year 2024," she said.

"This exemplifies our determination to rebrand our stations as thriving communities where people can live, work, and play, thereby transforming them into transit hubs that provide a better experience for passengers and shoppers," she added.

The minister revealed in August that Gauteng's rail infrastructure redevelopment was making significant progress as the PRASA spent R2.1 billion on the project.

She also relaunched the Leralla-Germiston line on Aug. 28, noting that PRASA successfully recovered 18 corridors while seven of them were operational.