Vol.23 No.113

Wednesday 2 August 2006    
   Cartoon Strip  
   Business Week  
   Arts/Culture Review  
Business Week
SA, Bots railways chew on future track

Staff Writer

8/2/2006 5:24:20 PM (GMT +2)

The new kids on the block at the helm of management at Botswana Railways (BR) and Africa's largest railway liner, Spoornet, said yesterday after closed-door meetings in Gaborone that there is a need to review their current business agreements.

BR chief executive officer, Andrew Lunga, and Spoornet counterpart, Siyabonga Gama, revealed that there are eight agreements at regional level that they have to consolidate.

They said it is important to advance the views of Botswana and South Africa despite the existing agreements in the region because, on account of the geo politics, their fortunes are intertwined.

The two became CEO's of the railway companies a year ago and have not met regularly enough, according to the Spoornet chief executive officer. "We need to create a consensus at regional levels to guide this and we need to create a consensus on how to move forward so that there should be convergence of views," said Gama.

Asked how they are going to win over the political stakeholders who have an interest in the multilateral regional agreements, Gama said it is important to note that 'in 2006, the railway industry needs a different approach'. He said it 'is better to reduce the agreements to one major agreement and modernise the approaches'.

"We want an agreement that is workable. That is the gist of the whole agreement," he added. BR and Spoornet already have agreements like the one they have on the Gabcon joint venture. Lunga revealed that the meeting discussed joint marketing ventures, the movement of international traffic and the Gabcon joint venture which appears to be profitable.

He also said that the discussions pointed to a need to review the two major corridors - Mafikeng to Botswana, and Beitbridge into Zimbabwe - and look at which one is most cost effective.

To implement these resolutions from the meeting, the two have formed a joint committee that will present its recommendations to the executive management of the two railway companies. The committee, Lunga said, would look into the factors that hinder effective joint agreements after which a joint business agreement will be signed. On the other hand, Gama revealed that because of the two countries' geo political ties, it was important for the two railway companies to work at exploring current traffic in South Africa and Botswana. He also said they have to look at 'ways to capture traffic from road to rail'. Send us your comments about Mmegi newspaper Search For Old Newspaper Editions To advertise contact us through email

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