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Botswana Railways hired P3 million crane from South Africa

Botswana Railways (BR) resorted to hiring a South African crane from an undisclosed company to help with the haulage of the derailed coaches, following an accident which left two people dead, at Bonwapitse near Mahalapye, in the early hours of Tuesday 10th December 2019.

Despite having its own cranes, BR looked beyond the border, procuring a multi- tasking telescopic crane to help in the hauling operations, parting ways with a whooping P3 million in the process, this has been confirmed by impeccable sources. Sources within BR who spoke on condition of anonymity told this publication that the incident left everyone at the organisation puzzled because they have more than one crane that could have done the job.

“The problem is they have abandoned them, they have been kept without being serviced for a long time. They never anticipated that a derailment incident could happen soon, but BR has been facing derailment challenges for the past 3 years,” said one source.  
Botswana Railways spokesperson Sakaeyo Baitshepi confirmed that indeed they have hired a crane from South Africa in December to help with the haulage.

Asked why they could not use their own cranes, Baitshepi said the accident was massive and they needed more manpower. "We also used our two cranes but they were small and not fit to help with moving the coaches,” said Baitshepi. Baitshepi however could not answer other questions as to how much was spent on procuring the telescopic crane from South Africa and from which company, opting to answer them through a questionnaire but could not answer at the time of going to press.  

Baitshepi also said he could not answer some of the questions since the inquiry into the investigations of the accident are still ongoing across the country. Owing to the accident that shocked the nation, the Ministry of Transport and Communications initiated a commission of inquiry to investigate the causes of the accident.

Following the interviews, employees took turns in the hot seat and claimed serious malfunctions within the BR Management. They asserted that the malfunctions coupled with decrepit systems have always presented a ticking time bomb within the organisation.
 The December 10 accident, they said, was a result of a toxic environment at their headquarters.  They claimed that top management authorised movement of the train, despite their warnings of adverse weather conditions.

The reports confirmed that two Botswana Railways employees, a trainman (assistant Driver) and a permanent Way Inspector, lost their lives in the accident and two others, a trainee locomotive driver and her accompanying instructor also travelling in the locomotive were admitted at Mahalapye hospital. Fortunately there were no fatalities amongst the 400 passengers in the coaches though passengers sustained injuries of varying degrees.

Mahalapye Station Commander Superintendent Omphile Malemenyane said the train, which had eight cabins and a locomotive, crashed into a stream, killing two drivers on the spot while one colleague sustained critical injuries.The railway staff – three men and a woman – were trapped in the locomotive when the train derailed.  The woman managed to escape but sustained serious injuries that include fractured arms.

According to Baitshepi, two other members of the train service crew and one passenger sustained serious injuries and have been hospitalized at a local district hospital. Dozens of passengers who sustained minor injuries were treated by medical officials who rushed to the accident scene and discharged immediately, he said. Baitshepi also said the cause of the derailment is being investigated by the country's directorate of accident investigation.

The passenger train was from Gaborone, Botswana's capital city heading northwards, the destination was the Southern African country's second-largest city, Francistown. The train movement were also halted between the country's major cities to give way for the repair of the railway line.

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Why Katholo engaged private lawyers against State

16th May 2022
Katlholo

The Director General of the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime (DCEC) Tymon Katholo has revealed why he took a decision to engage private lawyers against the State. The DCEC boss engaged Monthe and Marumo Attorneys in his application to interdict the Directorate of Intelligence and Security (DIS) from accessing files and dockets in the custody of the corruption busting agency.

In his affidavit, Katholo says that by virtue of my appointment as the Director General of the DCEC, he is obliged to defend the administration and operational activities of the DCEC. He added that, “I have however been advised about a provision in the State Proceedings Act which grants the authority of public institution to undertake legal proceedings to the Attorney General.” Katholo contends that the provision is not absolute and the High Court may in the exercise of its original jurisdiction permit such, like in this circumstance authorise such proceedings to be instituted by the DCEC or its Director General.

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Dada to break Kwelagobe’s BDP long standing record

16th May 2022
Dada

Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) has gone through transformation over the years, with new faces coming and going, but some figures have become part and parcel of the furniture at Tsholetsa House. From founding in 1962, BDP has seen five leaders changing the baton during the party’s 60 years of existence. The party has successfully contested 12 general elections, albeit the outcome of the last polls were disputed in court.

While party splits were not synonymous with the BDP for the better part of its existence, the party suffered two splits in the last 12 years; the first in 2010 when a Barataphathi faction broke ranks to found the now defunct Botswana Movement for Democracy (BMD). The Barataphathi faction was in the main protesting the ill-treatment of then recently elected party secretary general, Gomolemo Motswaledi, who had been suspended ostensibly for challenging the authority of then president, Ian Khama.

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The Gulaam Husain Abdoola – Dubai sting detailed

16th May 2022
Gulaam Husain Abdoola

Mr Abdoola has known Mr. Uzair Razi for many years from the time he was a young boy. Uzair’s father, Mr Razi Ahmed, was the head of BCCI Bank in Botswana and “a very good man,” his close associates say.

Uzair and his wife went to settle in Dubai, the latter’s birthplace. He stayed in touch and was working for a real estate company owned by Mr. Sameer Lakhani. “Our understanding is that Uzair approached Mr. Abdoola to utilize their services for any property-related interests in Dubai. He did some work for Mr.Abdoola and others in the Botswana business community,” narrates a friend of Mr Abdoola.

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