Bots, SA Forge Ahead with P3 Billion Railway


Botswana Railways and South Africa’s Transnet are closing in on the 113 km Mmamabula-Lephalale rail line, estimated at a value of around P3 billion. This project aims to enhance inter-trade between the two countries. The railway project is a result of several high-level economic engagements between Botswana and South Africa.

The two state-owned entities recently issued an expression of interest to potential funders for the project, which boasts a capacity of 24 million tons per year. According to the expression of interest, it will connect to existing routes, including South Africa’s Richards Bay and the Maputo port in Mozambique. These routes are both key export terminals for coal and other minerals. The upgrades are also expected to cater to a multipurpose terminal at Richards Bay to accommodate the increased volumes from Botswana. This project is anticipated to be carried out without any financial contributions from the two governments.

“The Mmamabula-Lephalale rail link will be operated as one seamless service with no stopovers at the South Africa-Botswana border. Upon completion, the rail link is expected to deliver significant socio-economic benefits, such as a shift from road to rail,” reads the expression of interest.

Bonginkosi Mabaso, the chief spokesperson of Transnet Freight, has recently been quoted on international media platforms, stating that they do not anticipate funding challenges for the project.