SAFETY and security on the Trans Kalahari Corridor from where it starts in Walvis Bay to where it ends in Gauteng in South Africa is of the utmost importance to ensure smooth trade between the countries it serves.
In this regard the Trans Kalahari Corridor Management Committee launched the tenth annual Joint Law Enforcement Operation on the transport corridor at the permanent roadblock on the outskirts of Swakopmund.
Deputy Minister of Works and Transport Sankwasa James Sankwasa welcomed delegates at the launch of the joint operation and said besides the road network, existing railway lines needs to be connected as a matter of urgency to promote economic growth from the Walvis Bay on the Atlantic Ocean to Maputo on the Indian Ocean.
He said connecting the railway networks of Namibia and Botswana has been discussed since 2010, and an agreement between the two countries was signed in 2014, to operationalise the project.
Sankwasa said it is vital to ensure the expansion and extension of economic development. He was of the opinion that the Maputo Corridor provides an onwards connection from Gauteng to Maputo in Mozambique.
“Together these corridors would form a unique road connection between Walvis Bay on the Atlantic Ocean and Maputo on the Indian Ocean, where the connected regions will become known as the Walvis Bay–Botswana–Gauteng–Maputo development corridor. All these plans are intended to achieve economies of scales being the cost advantages that enterprises obtain due to their scale of operation with cost per unit output decreasing with increasing scale of sale,” he said.
The Chief Executive Officer of the Trans Kalahari Corridor Secretariat, Lesley Mpofu, said during the launch of the joint law enforcement operation regional economic integration remain the most essential mechanism for reconnecting Africans with one another at both social, economic and cultural levels.
“This would allow African countries with small economies to able to bargain meaningfully on trade and other geopolitical strategic imperatives at a global level,” he said.
Mpofu was of the opinion that it is critical to integrate African economies and the appreciation of the collective gains this would bring to nation states has brought about the concept of “Linking Africa”.
“The Linking Africa idea is born out of the realisation that for Africa to have any chance of bargaining meaningfully at the level of global value chains, and to trade meaningfully with the rest of the world, we need to earnestly think about our economic prospects beyond the confines of the senseless borders that were imposed on all of us. Linking Africa is essentially concerned with trade and transport regulatory frameworks and thus will result in deeper regional integration. I believe that by linking Africa, and thus enhancing intra-Africa trade, we will be able to remove that burden of poverty that is always associated with our beloved continent,” Mpofu said.
As the tenth joint commission joint operation is focussed on law enforcement along the existing corridor the Inspector General of the Namibian Police, Lieutenant General Sebastian Ndeitunga urged all stakeholders to continue increasing law enforcement activities by intensifying visibility to maintain safety and security.
“The prevention of traffic accidents becomes an integral prerequisite of the TKC management system. As we strive to enhance road safety on the corridor, we should also enhance trade competitiveness by ensuring that our various national laws are synchronised to minimise the transportation and logistics costs, to fully implement the corridor bond guarantee scheme, which is aimed at reducing cost of transit, harmonising axle load limits along the corridor and ensuring uniformity in law enforcement measures, to control overloading as well as having similar or matching operating hours at all transit border posts,” General Ndeitunga said.
He encouraged all stakeholders and participants in the tenth TKC operation to rededicate their efforts and to be serious with the operation and to make sure that they target all possible road traffic contraventions such as alcohol abuse, drug abuse or trafficking, inconsiderate driving and driver fatigue, safety belt application, overloading of passengers and freight, checking the authenticity of transportation documents thoroughly, vehicle road worthiness, thorough searches for possible trafficking of humans, drugs or protected species and products derived from such animals such as rhino horn and elephant tusks as well as mineral resources such as diamonds and copper.
“I urge you to perform your operational duties with diligence, trustworthiness, dedication and commitment.”
General Ndeitunga further implored officers participating to act in a professional manner and in such a way to avoid unnecessary inconveniences to road users without compromising the rule of law.