Tuesday, April 7, 2020

Botswana Railways has no operating board

Troubled Botswana Railways (BR) under investigated over a train accident that derailed last year and killed two crew members is operating without a Board, it has emerged.

The revelation has come as a shock even to the Botswana Railways Amalgamated Workers Union (BRAWN).

Minister of Transport and Communications, Thulaganyo Segokgo, however insists a process to appoint the new board is underway.  

Former board chairman of BR, Adolph Hirschfield, has confirmed to The Sunday Standard that the board contract expired on the 31st of last month.

“Yes, it is true that our three-year term that we were given has actually expired and currently the BR does not have a board,” he said.

He said the BR Act does not allow the organization to operate without a board.

He said as the former chairman he is clueless as to when the Minister of Transport and Communications intends to appoint a new board.

Hirschfield added that the Minster is the relevant person to be asked when the new board is expected to be appointed saying that he could not speak on behalf of the minster.

Contacted for a comment, Segokgo said the process is under way to appoint a new board that will be announced in due course.

“At moment I would not want to suggest when the board will be appointed but what the public should know is the fact that the process is ongoing.

“Once the process has been completed, I will pronounce the new board,” he said.  

When asked whether he would want to finish what he started in the last three years that he has been serving in the board, Hirschfield replied that “I strongly believe I am a true patriot and I am ready to serve to my level best where ever I am being asked to do therefore if I’m asked to serve I will accept the offer.”   

Contacted for comment President of BRAWN Gaebepe Molaodi said the union was shocked that the minister of transport and communication has not yet appointed the new board.

She stated the ministry knew that the term of the board would expire but “rather the ministry decided to sleep on the job.”

“It is totally unacceptable that the organization can easily operate without the board,” she said.

Molaodi expressed displeasure that the former board failed to rescue the sinking of BR.

“The union is deeply disappointed in the way the board was operating as it failed to rescue BR from its situation instead, they worsened the situation,” she said.

She added: “The union would like to appeal to the minster that should he should not bring anyone from the old board, rather should bring people who will take BR higher heights.”

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