By Staff Reporter
Road safety remains a key factor on the Trans Kalahari Corridor (TKC) that requires an integrated approach by all relevant stakeholders to save lives and ensure seamless and consistent transportation of basic goods to different countries.
This led to the “Thank A Trucker” campaign initiated through the collaboration of the National Department of Transport, Trans Kalahari Corridor Secretariat (TKCS), Namibia’s National Road Safety Council and Walvis Bay Corridor Group to advocate on road safety and appreciate truck drivers on the N4 side of the Trans Kalahari Corridor.
A week-long campaign kick started with an information sharing session in Mahikeng with attendance of stakeholders. It will continue with direct engagement with truck drivers along the N8 in Mahikeng next to the Ramatlabama border to Botswana and N4 in Brits.
During the information sharing session held at Seasons Conference facilities, the Director for Regional Corridors from the National Department of Transport, Mr Segodi Mogotsi said most truck drivers faced a lot of challenges during the Covid-19 while ensuring that they transport much needed goods. “We continue to complain about the conduct of truck drivers on the road and fail to appreciate their service of ensuring that we receive our goods on time. The food that we eat on a daily basis is transported by these truckers and they face a lot of challenges just to ensure that we receive our trade.
“It is through this campaign that we want to appreciate them and advocate for road safety on our corridor,” said Mogotsi, who called on women to take advantage of opportunities available on the corridor.
The Trans Kalahari Corridor Secretariat’s Executive Director, Mr Leslie Mpofu, said the COVID-19 has drastically reversed the progress that was achieved in turning the corridor into an economic hub.
“We were on the right track to reduce or eliminate delays at our borders, however, the pandemic has affected the progress. Our truck drivers were faced with a number of challenges, increased risks, some lost their jobs and trade was not moving on time.
“It is now time to rebuild ourselves and we are starting here by appreciating our truck drivers, advocate for better service and road safety along our corridor,” said Mpofu.
Ms Ipeleng Kwadi from Motshotelo Farming Enterprise called for outreach programmes targeting communities living around the Corridor to be given awareness on the Trans Kalahari Corridor and its role in creating job opportunities and the economic growth of the three countries – namely, South Africa, Botswana and Namibia.
Kwadi’s call followed her sad experience in which she lost more than 60 of her pigs at the time of looting of trucks during the protests on the N4 in Zeerust during the beginning of this year.
“When communities protest, they destroy the infrastructure and frustrate our truck drivers and that further causes delays in the transportation of goods,” said Kwadi.
The Trans Kalahari Corridor is a tripartite, trans-boundary Corridor Management Institution that was established with a political and economic vision to pursue or contribute towards deeper regional integration programs of the Southern African Development Community (SADC), Southern Africa Customs Union (SACU) and the New Economic Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD).