Connect with us

Botswana Railways takes full control of Railpark

Originally BR had only 67% shares in Rail Park mall

Botswana Railways has acquired all the shares available at Rail Park mall. The government parastatal initially had a 67 percent control in the property and has now paid P135 million to take charge of the remaining 33 percent.

The 33 percent was initially under the ambit of BIFM and Tradinik. The multimillion Rail Park mall was officially opened on 23 April 2012. After three and a half years in operation, the value of the mall more than doubled to P600 million.

Botswana Railways believes that it has hit the jackpot following the latest transaction.  BR Properties (Pty) is also intending to build similar shopping malls in Francistown and other places to commercially exploit Botswana Railways land with private partners.

The land where Rail Park mall is built belongs to Botswana Railways; it was a dormant piece of land which was used as a station office leased to a company called JTTM. During the official opening, the then Vice President, the late Lieutenant General Mompati Merafhe hailed Botswana Railways as a desirable economic  enabler that has managed to convert a barren eight hectare piece of land into a lucrative business venture that’s now hosts one of the leading shopping centres  in Botswana.

Botswana Railways believes that the move to own a mall will ease the burden on government to finance BR and thereby avail funds for other national projects. BR says it has managed to unlock value from its movable and immovable assets such as the commercial exploitation of land as we have seen with the Rail Park Mall.

Satar Dada is a director with no shares at Rail Park mall, appointed to represent the interest of Botswana Railways. It is believed that he was influential in the BR acquisition. However some industry players are sceptical about BR’s move to buy out BIFM and Tradinik.

The two companies have vast experience in property management, and may well use the P135 million to set up another project that could rival Rail Park mall. Effectively Dada is the only remaining businessman after the departure of BIFM and Tradinik. Tradinik owns about 30 properties around the country, including the twin towers at the Central Business District in Gaborone.

The arguments being thrown around is that the two companies have existing client relations, and know how to manage them – a commercial aspect that BR is not rich with. They have been accustomed to the business of managing huge properties, maintaining them, and dealing with other service providers for maintenance, among other things.

However, Botswana Railways appears ready to up its game and get on with business.

Owning Rail Park mall is expected to diversify BR income base, help BR to realize its turnaround strategy objectives, and hopefully reduce dependence on government funding. The parastatal sees itself as a role model to other government entities because it has found better use of unutilised land; building better offices to effect operations, among other advantages.  

Railpark Mall is currently under the management of Khumo Properties, a company owned by BIFM and Tradinik. Khumo properties is an experienced company when it comes to project management, client management, lease agreements, facilities management and other related matters.

Botswana Railways may have to contend with a situation where it has to rope in BR properties, its subsidiary, to manage the mall. This will come at a price, because the organisation will have to up its game and recruit more talent and sufficient skill in order to compete in the market.

BR Properties (Pty) Ltd is a 100% subsidiary of Botswana Railways whose core mandate is to unlock the potential of BR’s real estate through sound property management and development practices. BR Properties (Pty) Ltd came about from the revision of the Botswana Railways Act in 2004, which allowed for commercialization of Botswana Railways’ land.

BR Properties, as a vehicle, exploits Botswana Railways prime land along commercial lines by partnering with private sector, individuals and public institutions / organizations with up to date property management practices.

In April 2012 BR Properties (Pty) Ltd opened Rail Park Mall in Gaborone on an 8-hectarce piece of Botswana Railways land. The Rail Park Mall was developed in partnership with the private sector.

Contacted for comment, Kebabonye Morewagae who is the Botswana Railways Corporate Communications Manager indicated that they could not comment much on the transaction because it has not been finalised.

Continue Reading


People with Disabilities Face Barriers to Political Participation in Botswana

23rd February 2024

Individuals challenged by disabilities encounter formidable obstacles when endeavoring to partake in political processes within the context of Botswana. Political involvement, a cornerstone of democratic governance, empowers citizens to shape the legislative landscape that impacts their daily existence. Despite Botswana’s reputation for upholding democratic ideals, recent insights unveil a troubling reality – those with disabilities find themselves marginalized in the realm of politics, contending with substantial barriers obstructing the exercise of their democratic liberties.

A recent inquiry in Botswana unveiled a panorama where individuals with disabilities confront hurdles in navigating the political arena, their involvement often restricted to the basic act of voting. Voices emerged from the study, underscoring the critical necessity of fostering environments that are accessible and welcoming, affording individuals with disabilities the active engagement they rightfully deserve in political processes. Noteworthy was the account of a participant grappling with physical impairments, shedding light on the glaring absence of ramps at polling stations and the urgent call for enhanced support mechanisms to ensure an equitable electoral participation.

The echoes reverberating from these narratives serve as poignant reminders of the entrenched obstacles impeding the full integration of individuals with disabilities into the democratic tapestry. The inaccessibility of polling stations and the glaring absence of provisions tailored to the needs of persons with disabilities loom large as formidable barricades to their political engagement. Particularly pronounced is the plight of those grappling with severe impairments and intellectual challenges, who face even steeper hurdles in seizing political participation opportunities, often grappling with feelings of isolation and exclusion from the political discourse.

Calls for decisive action cascade forth, urging the establishment of more inclusive and accessible political ecosystems that embrace individuals with disabilities in Botswana. Government bodies and concerned stakeholders are urged to prioritize the enactment of laws and policies designed to safeguard the political rights of individuals with disabilities. Furthermore, initiatives geared towards enhancing awareness and education on political processes and rights for this segment of society must be spearheaded, alongside the adoption of inclusive measures within political institutions and party structures.

By dismantling these barriers and nurturing a political landscape that is truly inclusive, Botswana can earnestly uphold its democratic ethos and afford every citizen, including those with disabilities, a substantive opportunity to partake in the political fabric of the nation.



Continue Reading


Neo Kirchway- Defying the odds

23rd February 2024

In the heartwarming tale of Neo Kirchway, a beacon of inspiration emerges, shining brightly amid life’s adversities.

Defying the constraints of destiny, Neo Kirchway, a resilient Motswana soul now thriving in the United States, stands tall despite the absence of her lower limbs. With unwavering determination, she tends to her cherished family – a loving husband and four children – engaging in the daily symphony of household tasks with remarkable grace.

Neo’s indomitable spirit traces back to the fateful year of 1994, a time when medical intervention called for the amputation of her curled legs. Embracing this pivotal juncture with unwavering courage and the blessing of her mother, she ventured forth into a world adorned with prosthetic legs, eager to script a tale of triumph.

Venturing beyond borders, Neo’s journey led her to the embrace of the United States, where serendipity intertwined her fate with that of her soulmate, Garrett Kirchway. Together, this harmonious duo navigates the ebbs and flows of life, their bond fortified by unwavering love and unyielding support.

In a bid to illuminate paths and embolden hearts, Neo leverages the digital realm, crafting a sanctuary of empowerment on her YouTube channel. Brimming with authenticity and raw emotion, her videos chronicle the tapestry of her daily life, serving as a testament to resilience and the unwavering human spirit.

Amidst the digital cosmos, Neo, affectionately known as “KirchBaby,” reigns supreme, a luminary in the hearts of 658,000 enraptured subscribers. Through her captivating content, she not only navigates the mundane tasks of cooking, cleaning, and childcare but also dances with celestial grace, a testament to her boundless spirit and unyielding zest for life.

In the cathedral of Neo Kirchway’s narrative, resilience reigns supreme, echoing a universal truth – that amidst life’s gales, the human spirit, when kindled by hope and fortitude, emerges as a beacon of light, illuminating even the darkest of paths.


Continue Reading


Inequalities Faced by Individuals with Disabilities

22nd February 2024

The government’s efforts to integrate individuals with disabilities in Botswana society are being hampered by budgetary constraints. Those with disabilities face inequalities in budgetary allocations in the health and education sectors. For instance, it is reported that the government allocates higher budgetary funds to the general health sector, while marginal allocations are proposed for the development and implementation of the National Primary Health Care guidelines and Standards for those with Disabilities. This shows that in terms of budgetary solutions, the government’s proposed initiatives in improving the health and well-being of those with disabilities remain futile as there is not enough money going towards disability-specific health programs. On the other hand, limited budgetary allocations to the Special Education Unit also are a primary contributor to the inequalities faced by children with disabilities. The government only provides for the employment of 15 teachers with qualifications in special education despite the large numbers of children with intellectual disabilities that are in need of special education throughout Botswana. Such disproportional allocation of resources inhibits the capacity to provide affordable and accessible assisted technology and residential support services for those with disabilities. Given the fact that a different amount of resources have been availed to the education and health sectors, the general understanding is that the government is not doing enough to ensure that adequate resources are distributed to disability-specific programs and facilities such as barrier-free environments, residential homes, and special education schools for children with disabilities.


Continue Reading