South Africa and Botswana have agreed, in principle, on joint development initiatives to be implemented by Transnet Freight Rail (TFR) and Botswana Rail (BR), to improve trade between the two countries, following a high-level business roundtable.
The initiatives will enable landlocked Botswana to access South African ports in a more efficient manner.
The entities will collaborate to fix parts of the 126 km rail line between Swartruggens and Mafikeng in South Africa, which will enable heavy haul trains travelling from Botswana to the ports of Richards Bay and Durban to access export markets.
The objective is to have the project running in the next 24 months.
This rail refurbishment will be funded jointly by the two governments, with TFR and BR given the responsibility to implement the initiative.
The two entities will also build a connecting line from Mamabula, in Botswana, to Lephalale, in Limpopo, South Africa, which is currently running export coal to Richards Bay.
TFR and BR will further collaborate on security interventions to curb cable theft and infrastructure vandalism – a growing problem in Botswana and rampant in South Africa, which impacts the efficient operation of trains.