Saturday, July 4, 2020

Rail union presses for criminal charges against officials

The Botswana Railways Amalgamated Workers’ Union (BRAWU) has appealed to President Mokgweetsi Masisi and the Minister of Transport and Ccommunications Thulaganyo Segokgo to press criminal charges against officials implicated during the just ended inquiry relating to a passenger train accident that claimed two train crew members. This comes at a time when a voluminous inquiry report has been handed over to Segokgo who is expected to act on its recommendations.

The president of BRAWU Gaebepe Molaudi told Sunday Standard that the union is appealing to both Masisi and Thulaganyo to take tough action against those implicated in the just end commission of injury.“We want tough actions to be taken against those who are implicated in the inquiry,” she said. She added that even criminal charges should be pressed against those implicated.Molaudi said though they have not seen the report, the union strongly believes that the evidence that was heard during the inquiry is enough to punish those who are implicated.“I hope that this time around those implicated in the report would not get away with murder,” said Molaudi.

She said it is high time that BR should be overhaled as its image has been tainted. She threatened that if those implicated are not taken to court the union may consider taking the matter upon itself by taking the matter to the court for prosecution. Contacted for comment Olefile Moakofi, former chairperson of the commission of inquiry that investigated the accident said: “It is true that the commission has handed the report to the minister of transport and the commission has been dissolved.”He stated that it is unfortunate and improper that as the former chairperson I cannot either discuss or disclose the contents of the report.Moakofi added that the minister himself has the prerogative of whether to release the report to the public or not.

Minister Segokgo also confirmed receiving the report.“I was handed over the report by the commission and at this juncture I am busy studying the report,” he said. Segokgo indicated that it would be ideal for the report to be made public as the investigations were conducted publicly.He also indicated that though he would not want to pre-empt what might happen, proper action would be taken against those who might happen to be on the wrong side. The enquiry started with evidence from one Motimedi Ngati, a field service engineer at Progress Rail, the company that manufactures the locomotive in question.

Ngati’s evidence detailed the north-bound train’s trip from Lobatse to a place near Bonwapitse, where the accident occurred. Appearing before the eight-member enquiry board, Ngati the BD5 goods locomotive with a 3 250 horsepower, was used for haulage of passengers without permission.

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Sunday Standard June 28 – 4 July

Digital copy of Sunday Standard issue of June 28 - 4 July, 2020.