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TKC permanent secretariat in Namibia

07 Sep 2023

Botswana, Namibia and South Africa have recently established a Trans-Kalahari Corridor (TKC) permanent secretariat in Namibia.

A press release from the corridor secretariat states that Minister of Transport and Public Works, Mr Eric Molale, Namibia Minister of Works and Transport, Mr John Mutorwa and South Africa Minister of Transport, Ms Sindisiwe Chikunga established a TKC permanent secretariat last month in Windhoek at a meeting chaired by Mr Molale, who is the current chairperson of the council.

The permanent secretariat comes 20 years since the signing of an agreement  on the development and management of the corridor. 

The three ministers also inaugurated the TKC secretariat headquarters.

The release says the achievements of the secretariat thus far include the establishment of a permanent secretariat headquartered in Namibia, yearly audited financial reports, the introduction of single customs administration document, harmonisation of key transport regulations, the development of the dangerous goods model law and its domestication by member states, the development and enactment of the One Stop Border Post (OSBP) Act by Botswana and Namibia, the signing of the OSBP between Botswana and Namibia, the alignment of border closing hours at TKC border from 10 pm to 24 hours service, and the 24-hour operation of the Mamuno/Trans Kalahari border post.

The release says there was also a feasibility study on the establishment of truck stops on the corridor, the partial fencing of the TKC in Botswana and the successful hosting of a Joint Law Enforcement Operations (JLEO) by the three member states. 

The release notes that Botswana hosted the 12th JLEO from 31 July – 6 August 2023 which was officially launched by Minister Molale highlighting that the 13th JLEO would be hosted by Namibia in November 2023.

The release says Botswana and Namibia were applauded for signing the OSBP agreement on 9 September 2022 and launching the 24 hour operation at Mamuno border on 1 April 2023. 

It added that Namibia and Botswana reiterated their commitment to the OSBP launch in May 2024.

The release states that at the meeting, Botswana and Namibia were congratulated for the introduction of identity cards as travel documents for its citizens which was launched on 24 February 2023 to improve the facilitation of trade and persons on the TKC. 

The move, it states, allowed the public and traders to carry out cross border trade without having to worry about passport being used up. 

To date, 6 480 people have used identity documents to depart from Botswana and 6 380 have used identity documents to depart from Namibia.

At the meeting, the council of ministers welcomed the 24 hour operation of the Tlokweng and Kopfontein Border Post which would come into effect from 1 December 2023. 

It states that the council of ministers agreed that the TKC secretariat must initiate processes to harmonise port health procedures, dry port procedures, bond guarantee transit procedures and transit monitoring systems. 

They also noted harmonisation of visa requirements with a view to establish a TKC visa and directed further consultations with immigration authorities.

Furthermore, they agreed to the introduction of a vehicle cargo tracking system in order to enable real time visibility, reduce irregularities while improving tax revenue collections. 

They also approved the establishment of a task team to develop the TKC model law on abnormal loads. 

The ministers noted that Namibia and South Africa have developed a road safety strategy in line with the second decade of action for road safety (2021-2030). Botswana is in the process of developing the strategy.

The three ministers noted that Namibia signed and rectified the African road safety charter and urged South Africa and Botswana to also sign and rectify. 

They agreed for the TKC secretariat to conduct a minimum of three information sessions a year to inform and educate stakeholders on different issues including border procedures, transport, customs and road legislations as well as business opportunities and spatial development initiatives along the corridor. 

TKC symposiums will be held biennially to attract international participation and exhibitions hosted by member states on a rotational basis.

The ministers agreed that the TKC management committee (TKCMC) should undertake a mission to Brazil to promote the corridor to the Brazilian market as a strategic corridor to channel exports and imports to and from Brazil to the region thereby growing volumes on the TKC.

Ministers Molale and Chikunga expressed appreciation to Mr Mutorwa for the excellent hospitality rendered to their respective delegations during their stay in Namibia. 

The meeting noted with appreciation the offer from South Africa to host the next meeting in line with the principle of rotational hosting of meetings.

The release states that the council of ministers meeting was attended by senior governments officials including those from transport, port authorities, corridor institutions, road agencies and rail authorities, immigration, law enforcement and security, traditional leaders and the private sector from the member states.

The Trans Kalahari Corridor is a tripartite transboundary corridor management institution established with political and economic vision to contribute towards deeper regional integration programmes of the Southern African Development Community, Southern African Customs Union and New Partnerships for Africa’s Development.

The road network spans approximately 1 900 kilometres across Botswana, Namibia and South Africa, starting from Gauteng Province in South Africa, through Rustenburg and Zeerust in the North West Province through Lobatse and Kanye, Sekoma, Mamuno in Botswana through Gobabis, Windhoek and Okahanndja, the port of Walvis Bay in Namibia. Ends

Source : BOPA

Author : BOPA

Location : Tsabong

Event : Press release

Date : 07 Sep 2023