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TKCS registers achievements despite the COVID 19 pandemic holdups

The past year and this year (2021) has forced most industries to evaluate what it means to be efficient. The challenges of navigating a global pandemic, with countries implementing strict protocols at ports of entry, workplaces operating with reduced capacity, uncertainties and lockdowns all meant embracing new technologies and different approaches to make work smarter

. Trans Kalahari Corridor Management Committee (TKCMC) is one of the corridor management institutes that has taken the lead to embrace change and ensure smooth transit of goods and persons along the route. Speakers during a two day TKC stakeholder consultative meeting that ended on Tuesday, mentioned the good progress that has been made by TKC despite the pandemic.

When giving his remarks during the meeting, the Executive Director of Trans Kalahari Corridor Secretariat Mr Leslie Mpofu stated that the TKC has achieved a lot in trade facilitation even though initially certain challenges were experienced such as meetings being unable to materialise due to technology glitches, new regulations or COVID 19 protocols by the different countries that were not in harmony, quarantining of drivers and high costs of COVID 19 tests among others.

Despite these challenges, Mr Mpofu mentioned that with combined efforts by stakeholders, a lot of accomplishments were achieved. One of the key successes being piloting of the Corridor Trip Monitoring System (CTMS) on TKC. CTMS is a system of monitoring the movement of truck drivers to ensure drivers follow their route and thus avoid spread of COVID 19. The driver is given a cell phone that can be monitored throughout his journey.

This system is expected to be a game changer in preventing the spread of the corona virus. Another initiative in conjunction with the Walvis Bay Corridor Group on the Namibian side of the Trans Kalahari Corridor is free testing and vaccination of drivers.

Mobile Clinics are strategically placed along the route to assist drivers with COVID 19 rapid testing, COVID 19 vaccination or any other health needs the driver may have. This he said was necessary as drivers are always on the road and may not find time to go for these important consultations.

Reduction of time and the expenses at border gates, increased participants in visual stakeholder engagements and harmonisation of some documents and policies are some of the positives. The current chairperson of The Trans Kalahari Corridor Management Committee (TKCMC) Mr Segodi Mogotsi who was also facilitating the first day of the meeting emphasised on the importance of cutting down the time spent on the road.

He was concerned that it took longer for movement of goods within the continent to reach their destination compared to goods that were coming in to the continent from overseas. He said it was important to improve the efficiency of the corridor, and further acknowledged the progress that the region is making in terms of road structures and technology systems. For his part, the Co – Chair of TKCMC from Namibia Dr Cedric Mwanota Limbo said that despite the challenges TKCS now has its own office Windhoek which will be commissioned soon.

He said the TKC is an economic Corridor and as an economic corridor, it should enhance its competitive advantage by reducing the costs of doing business and transit time. He stated that TKCS was on the right path and urged stakeholders support initiatives the secretariat. The two day stakeholder meeting was organised by the Trans Kalahari Corridor Secretariat at the request from the Ministry of Works and Transport (Namibia) with intension to meet stakeholders in South Africa to discuss collaborations, challenges experienced on the corridor, possible solutions in order to make the TKC a quick and cost effective corridor.

The Trans Kalahari Corridor is a road network approximately 1900 kilometres across Namibia, Botswana and South Africa, it starts from the Gauteng Province through Rustenburg and Zeerust in South Africa, Lobatse, Kanye, Kang, Mamuno in Botswana, Past Gobabis, Windhoek and Okahandja through to Walvis Bay in Namibia.

The TKC Secretariat is a tripartite trans boundary corridor management institution based in Windhoek. It was established with a political and economic vision to pursue or contribute towards deeper regional integration programmes of SADC, SACU and NEPAD.


BCP, AP stalemate in 7 constituencies

21st March 2023

When the Botswana Congress Party (BCP), Alliance for Progressives, Botswana Labour Party (BLP), and conveners reconvene next week, the controversial issue of allocation of the seven constituencies will be the main topic of discussion, WeekendPost can reveal.

Not only that, but the additional four constituencies will also dominate the talks. The idea is to finally close the “constituency allocation phase,” which has proven to be the most difficult part of the ongoing negotiations.

Earlier this year, the two parties announced that the marathon talks would be concluded by February. Even at a media briefing last month, BCP Secretary General Goretetse Kekgonegile and Publicity Secretary Dr. Mpho Pheko were optimistic that the negotiations would be concluded before the end of February.

However, it is now mid-March and the talks have yet to be concluded. What could be the reasons for the delay? This is a question that both Kekgonegile and Pheko have not responded to, as they have ignored the reporters’ inquiries. However, a senior figure within the party has confided to this publication as to what is delaying the highly anticipated negotiations.

“We are reconvening next week to finalize constituency allocations, taking into account the additional four new ones plus the outstanding seven,” he explained. It later surfaced that Gaborone Central, Gaborone North, Mogoditshane, Tswapong North, Francistown West, Tati West, and Nata Gweta are all contested by both BCP and AP. This is because the other 50 constituencies were allocated by December of last year.

The three parties have failed to find common ground for the Bosele Ward by-elections. Are these constituencies not a deal breaker for the talks? “None of the constituencies is a deal breaker,” responded a very calm BCP official.

In Bosele Ward, AP has yielded to BCP, despite most of its members disapproving the decision. On the other hand, BLP has refused, and it will face off with BCP together with Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) and Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC).

The decision by BLP to face off with BCP has been labelled as a false start for the talks by political observers.

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Botswana approves extradition of British fugitive

21st March 2023

Raiz Ahmed Tayub, a British fugitive sought by Interpol for his involvement in human trafficking and slave trade crimes, was captured by the Botswana Police Service (BPS) earlier this year.

Merapelo Mokgosi, the Assistant Director of the Directorate of Public Prosecution (DPP), confirmed that he will be extradited to France, where he is wanted for his crimes.

“It is true that Tayub will be extradited to France, where he has been wanted for some time,” says Mokgosi.

She explained that the fugitive was arrested by the Botswana Police in early January while attempting to enter Botswana through the Pioneer border gate. Since his arrest, he has been appearing before the Lobatse Magistrate Court to fight his release from custody and to object to his extradition to France. During his court appearance, Tayub opted for voluntary extradition.

“He opted for voluntary extradition, which the extradition Act allows,” said Mokgosi. She added that the suspect was not under duress when he chose voluntary extradition. Soon after he made this choice, the Ministry of Justice was notified, and the minister approved his extradition. Preparations are still underway to fly the wanted man to France, and once the necessary paperwork is completed between the two nations, the suspect will be extradited.

Mokgosi indicated that plans were still being made to complete the suspect’s extradition to France, and the Botswana government would pay for his flight along with his escort.

Meanwhile, the court has ordered the Botswana Prison Services (BPS) to provide the Islamic British fugitive with “halal food” while he is in custody.

In an earlier court application, Tayub had asked to be detained at a five-star hotel, as he could pay for it until the completion of his case. He also argued that he should not have to wear a prison uniform due to the Covid-19 outbreak. He was thought to have been traveling to Malawi at the time of his capture.

When delivering the order, the principal magistrate, Gofaone Morwang, said the detainee should be provided with halal daily rations with immediate effect while he is in custody. The magistrate dismissed TAYUB’s application for hotel detention and exemption from wearing a prison uniform.

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Botswana approves extradition of British fugitive

20th March 2023

Raiz Ahmed Tayub, a British fugitive sought by Interpol for his involvement in human trafficking and slave trade crimes, was captured by the Botswana Police Service (BPS) earlier this year.

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