Recommendation may give rise to contractual disputes
The Botswana Railways (BR) tragedy enquiry team led by the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Civil Aviation Authority of Botswana (CAAB) Olefile Moakofi has recommended for the dismissal and replacement of the entire Botswana Railways management as the only panacea to its perennial troubles.
It is not known whether the Minister of Transport Thulaganyo Segokgo will adopt the recommendation or not. Close sources however say the Ministry is under heavy pressure to adopt the recommendation given the magnitude of troubles at the parastatal.
Nevertheless, there are contractual issues which may result in legal battles should the matter not be handled prudently according to sources. Normally such a far-reaching recommendation is given legitimacy by a disciplinary action which will then pave way for a dismissal. Some authorities however prefer a golden handshake, the process of paying a significant severance package in the case that the executive loses their job through firing, restructuring, or even a scheduled retirement.
It is not known how Minister Segokgo will handle the matter. In an interview with this publication Segokgo pleaded for patience. He said he just received the report and has to discuss it with his colleagues at government enclave first.
Upon assuming office between the 2017 and 2018 financial year, the new BR management launched an ambitious five year strategy which they may never stay to implement following a tragic accident that exposed a lot of rot at the organisation.
Facing the possible axe are the Chief Executive officer Leonard Makwinja, Director of Finance and corporate services, Mao Segage, Director of Business development Stephen Makuke, director of operations and engineering Justice Ramontsho and director of human capital Letlhogonolo Bantsi.
The commission of enquiry posits that the rot starts at the head and that the company’s problems are a reflection of its leadership acumen. The new management was adamant that they have developed an exciting road map that gives them fresh energy to propel BR into the new future.
The 2019/20- 2023/24 strategy was developed, approved and cascaded across all levels of the organisation. In their website they say they are committed to the following objectives: develop, implement and sustain world class railway safety standards, policies, processes and training programs.
During their probe, the Commission attended meetings in Mahalapye, Palla Road and Palapye and visited Lobatse, Gaborone and Francistown to gather evidence from members of the public and they discovered shocking details some of which bordered on risking the health and security of the nation.
On the 10th of December last year, it was revealed that the passenger train enroute to Francistown from Gaborone was derailed near Bonwapitse River and claimed two crew members. The Francistown-bound train carrying around 400 passengers broke down damaging the locomotive, luggage van, generator van, buffet car and four coaches.