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BR employee blames management for train accident

KOKETSO KGOBOGE
Train accident PIC. BASHI KIKIA
MAHALAPYE: Botswana Railways' (BR) senior control officer, Reginald Ditlogolo, has accused the management for the rail line operator for indecisiveness when it comes to making tough decisions.

Ditlogolo did not mince his words calling his bosses ‘cowards’ before the board of enquiry investigating the cause of the December train mishap that resulted in two casualties. 

The public inquiry is underway here at Cresta Hotel.

Mathata ke gore management wa Botswana Railways ke magwala,” he said in vernacular when he fielded questions from the board. He was quizzed on whether the accident was avoidable. Roughly translated, he meant the BR head honchos are cowards. 

According to recorded messages in the BR management WhatsApp group presented before the board of inquiry, Ditlogolo pre-warned that trains movement be cancelled citing potential risk after heavy rains. He had shared his concerns in the morning, hours before the accident occurred.

“It was after the social media was awash with the damages the rains caused around the country particularly in the areas

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of Molepolole. Even a picture from heavy water flow at Bonwapitse River was shared in the (BR) WhatsApp group," he said.

The acting director operations added that a decision was reached at management level after advice from engineers that the rail was clear and train operations could not be stopped.

“At the control room we don’t see anything. We take instructions from the engineers, if they say lines are clear and we can run the trains, we instruct the trains to continue.” 

In his opinion, Ditlogolo said BR engineers also failed to avoid the accident. “They should have at least put speed precautionary boards at the site for the engine man.”

BR staff will take turns to give evidence before the investigating board set by the Ministry of Transport and Communications in the next two weeks.



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