South Africa and Botswana have agreed to support joint development initiatives to be undertaken by Transnet Freight Rail (TFR) and Botswana Rail (BR).

This decision, which will help enhance inter-trade between the two countries, has been announced following High-Level South Africa – Botswana business roundtable.

The initiatives will also enable landlocked Botswana to access ports in South Africa in an efficient way, stated Transnet.

BR and TFR will work together to fix parts of the 126km rail line between Swartruggens and Mafikeng.

It will allow heavy haul trains to operate from Botswana to the ports of RichardsBay and Durban for export markets.

The governments of both countries will fund this project, which will be implemented by TFR and BR.

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Transnet stated that “the objective is to have the project running in the next two years.”

Both entities will also be involved in the construction of a connecting line from Mamabula in Botswana to Lephalale in Limpopo. It is presently used for exporting coal to Richards Bay.

TFR and BR will work together to restrict the scourge of cable theft and infrastructure vandalism.

According to Transnet, it is a major problem in Botswana as well as prevalent in South Africa that is affecting the running of trains.

Large-scale theft of copper cables in South Africa has impacted the capability of TFR to ship minerals such as coal as well as diverted some miners to use trucks instead of trains, reported Reuters.