Friday, February 23, 2024

Train mishap investigations ongoing – Minister

The Minister of Transport and Communication Thulaganyo Segokgo has assured Parliament that a preliminary report on the derailment of the northbound Botswana Railways passenger train will be unveiled this Wednesday to provide a clear picture on the cause of the accident.

Last week Tuesday a Botswana Railways passenger derailed near Palla-Road around 2 am, where a total of 395 people were onboard inclusive of passengers and crew members. Among those on board at least two crew members lost their lives during the accident.

Providing an update to Parliament Minister of transport Segokgo revealed that two crew members sustained injuries and have been hospitalised at Mahalapye hospital. Five other passengers were treated for minor injuries and discharged immediately. Meanwhile, one female passenger was referred to Marina for further diagnosis and medical treatment.

On Wednesday a female passenger was treated and discharged and has since travelled to her destination. Whereas the other passengers were safely evacuated and buses were hired by Botswana railways to take them to their destinations.

The Minister told Parliament that “the railway line was constructed initially before independence and it has been confirmed to me verbally that indeed we do not have insurance on the trains and it is a very disturbing matter which I am addressing at my ministry.”

“My ministry has started investigations on the accident. I have engaged the Directorate of Accident Investigation to lead the investigation. I wish to assure the nation that the investigations shall be thorough and make findings which shall inform us of the necessary actions to take avert any accidents in the future,” Segokgo said.

Furthermore the Minister added:“Meanwhile the investigating team, having gathered preliminary data and information, have permitted BR with the assistant of Botswana Defence Force and National Disaster Management office to proceed with moving coaches that stood intact on the rail line. Botswana Railways will not be investigating itself and if things go according to plan, the directorate of accident investigations will give me a report which I might present to parliament on Wednesday.”

The damaged locomotive, luggage van, generator van, buffet car and four coaches will wait for the investigations to establish the magnitude of damage. Meanwhile Botswana railways has halted all train movements until all necessary repair works are completed. The repairs are expected to be completed within three to four days.

This past week the Minister alongside Botswana Railways Board Chairperson, Adolf Hirschfield, chief executive officer Leonard Makwinja and transport Sector Acting Permanent Secretary Garekwe Mojaphoko visited affected staff in Mahalapye.


Read this week's paper