The volume of both commercial and passenger vehicles passing through the Trans-Kalahari Corridor (TKC) has been increasing steadily over the years from about 5% in 2002 to 50-80% in 2009. This was revealed by the Executive Director of the Trans-Kalahari Corridor, Bevan Simataa at a workshop held during the just ended Global Expo in Gaborone on Thursday.
The Trans-Kalahari Corridor is a 1 850km highway that stretches from Walvis Bay in Namibia to Gauteng province in South Africa. It has been identified as an alternative route for shipment from parts of southern Africa such as Zimbabwe, Botswana, Zambia, Angola, DRC and South Africa, to the west.
The high way cuts the route via Uppington from Gauteng to Walvis Bay by about 400km.
Bevan Simaata said they have managed to establish a one stop border post between Botswana and Namibia. There are however still some constraints in establishing the same at the Botswana-South Africa border, mainly because of developments that are taking place on both sides at Pioneer Gate. The Botswana government, for example, is in the process of replacing an old weighbridge at its border with South Africa.
“Africa has the highest number of landlocked countries facing time-consuming border-crossing transit procedures which need to be addressed before the establishment of the SADC Free Trade Area,” Simataa emphasized.
The TKC secretariat, based in Namibia, has also managed to extend border operating hours, establish systems integration and connectivity, and develop one administration document for usage at all borders posts.
However, the need to attract more users and improve private sector investment along the highway still poses challenges to the secretariat. There have also been complaints of integrity, especially with regard to corruption.
Although the secretariat has been able to divert traffic from Gauteng to Botswana, as more users now prefer the TKC to the Uppington route, the traffic volumes in the highway still leave a lot to be desired.
Stray animals also pose a threat on the Botswana stretch and plans are underway to contract a company to fence part of the highway, from Sekoma to Mmamuno.