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BR in another train derailment incident

Botswana Railways

Three wagons described as empty takers belonging to Botswana Railways derailed this week in Lobatse on their way to the workshop in Mahalapye.

 The incident which was confirmed by Botswana Railways Public Relations Officer Sakaeyo Baitshepi happened on Wednesday morning around 0400 HRS but no one was injured.

Botswana Railways Safety Manager Lawrence Mosweunyane told WeekendPost that investigations are still ongoing but they suspect the derailment was caused by railway line check and trap point’s failure, which might have guided the wagons to a wrong track.

“We cannot categorically confirm that now since the investigations are still ongoing. At the moment we can only give assumptions, even the costs we can only speculate,” said Mosweunyane.

He said the incident happed just before Lobatse Clayworks at the crossroads but the train only managed to stop after 3.8 kilometers since they were not aware of what was happening. According to Mosweunyane the train was pulling 39 wagons from Lobatse to Mahalapye and the three that derailed were in the middle.

He also confirmed that no injuries were sustained since there only two people, the Engine man and the Train man were on board. The BR Safety Manager also told this publication that at the moment train movements between Lobatse and Gaborone are still halted.

At the time of going to press, the spokesperson said the engineers were at site awaiting the crane and the recovery process has started assuring that they might finish before end of business on Friday where train movements will resume. The accident follows another unfortunate incident that happed late last year where two people lost their lives.

On 10th December 2019, the nation was awoken by bad news that Botswana Railways passenger train enroute to Francistown from Gaborone was derailed near Bonwapitse River and claimed two crew members. The Francistown- bound train carrying around 400 passengers broke down damaging the locomotive, luggage van, generator van, buffet car and four coaches.

After the much talked about incident many questions were raised on why Botswana Railways allowed the movement of trains when they were floods in Mahalapye and knowing that the railway line was not in a good conditions.

Early this year WeekendPost reported that the preliminary findings in the Botswana Railways public inquiry into the accident involving the passenger train points irregularities in the train’s radio communication system which was found to be ‘absolute’.

This was revealed by Botswana Railways Inquiry Chairman Olefile Moakofi (Chief Executive Officer of Civil Aviation Authority of Botswana) on Tuesday this week, marking the end of the two months long public inquiry that was conducted across the country since January 2020.

Even though most of the train personnel interviewed by the inquiry attributed a gross negligence in the part of BR, the Inquiry Chairman pointed that a malfunction on the train communication system could have led to the derailment of train 0501/BD549 between Pallaroad and Mahalapye on December 10, 2019 in which two BR crew members lost their lives.

Moakofi later told WeekendPost that one of the leading cause of the accident was the communication system which they cannot even retrieve any messages or communication leading to the fateful day. Moakofi even though he did not want to pre-empt the report said some of their team members have travelled to South Africa to further the investigations.

The radio communication networks are critical to train operations including stringent requirements for reliability, availability, safety and security for these operations. Different security measures are considered based on the assumption of transmission error or communication blackout in RSTT.

In general, radio communication for railway operations are considered as “mission critical” for train operations in general and the management of train emergency situations. Furthermore, railway radio communication systems require the support of legacy technology and to have a long life cycle.

RSTT provide improved railway traffic control, passenger safety and improved security for train operations. These systems also provide for interoperability of train operations in some regions.

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BDP decides Balopi’s fate

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Balopi

The Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) Central Committee (CC) meeting, chaired by President Dr Mokgweetsi Masisi late last month, resolved that the party’s next Secretary-General (SG) should be a full-time employee based at Tsholetsa House and not active in politics.

The resolution by the CC, which Masisi proposed, is viewed as a ploy to deflate the incumbent, Mpho Balopi’s political ambitions and send him into political obscurity. The two have not been on good terms since the 2019 elections, and the fallout has been widening despite attempts to reconcile them. In essence, the BDP says that Balopi, who is currently a Member of Parliament, Minister of Employment, Labour Productivity and Skills Development, and a businessman, is overwhelmed by the role.

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BDF-Namibians shootings autopsy report revealed

22nd November 2021
BDF

The Botswana Defence Force (BDF)-Namibians fatal shooting tragedy Inquest has revealed through autopsy report that the BDF carried over 800 bullets for the mission, 32 of which were discharged towards the targets, and 19 of which hit the targets.

This would mean that 13 bullets missed the targets-in what would be a 60 percent precision rate for the BDF operation target shooting. The Autopsy report shows that Martin Nchindo was shot with five (4) bullets, Ernst Nchindo five (5) bullets, Tommy Nchindo five (5) bullets and Sinvula Munyeme five (5) bullets. From the seven (7) BDF soldiers that left the BDF camp in two boats, four (4) fired the shots that killed the Namibians.

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Gov’t confused over Moitoi’s UN job application

22nd November 2021
VENSON MOITOI

The former Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Pelonomi Venson-Moitoi’s decision to apply for the positions of United Nations Special Representative of the Secretary-General (SRSG) and their deputies (DSRSG), has left the government confused over whether to lend her support or not, WeekendPost has established.

Moitoi’s application follows the Secretary-General’s launch of the third edition of the Global Call for Heads and Deputy Heads of United Nations Field Missions, which aims to expand the pool of candidates for the positions of SRSG) and their deputies to advance gender parity and geographical diversity at the most senior leadership level in the field. These mission leadership positions are graded at the Under-Secretary-General and Assistant Secretary-General levels.

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