Billions Needed for Railway Upgrade

TransNamib will need N$9 billion to upgrade its aging and dilapidated railway lines.

Chairman of the Board of Directors at TransNamib Dr Pieter Oosthuisen on Tuesday stressed that the transport utility’s railway tracks are not in a good condition and they need N$9 billion to upgrade the railway lines to acceptable standards.

Speaking at the commissioning ceremony of five refurbished locomotives, he said tracks are not well maintained and they face serious safety issues, risking derailment and thereby losing hard earned assets.

“It should be noted that these tracks are not owned by TransNamib and they do not appear on our balance sheets. They are owned by the government and if we want to bring this rail infrastructure to support our rolling stock to superior levels approximately N$9 billion is required,” he said.

Another board member Dantago Jimmy-Melani at the occasion invited the National Union of Namibian Workers (NUNW) and Namibian Transport and Allied Workers (Natau) in the dispute over restructuring plans to come back to the negotiating table as the parastatal’s 180-day turnaround strategic plan would benefit all employees.

Oosthuisen echoed the same sentiment and publicly announced that not one of TransNamib’s employees would be sent to the streets to be unemployed as it was widely reported and communicated by the unions.

He said the turnaround strategy was well calculated with vested political interest by government not to increase the already high unemployment in Namibia.

Oosthuisen said: “This is definitely not what TransNamib’s turnaround plan is all about. Our turnaround plan has without any doubt, definite empowerment opportunities specifically designed for our employees incorporated within the lucrative restructuring packages.”

Oosthuisen said employees will be given opportunities to become businessmen and women who will have opportunities to participate and own TransNamib’s non-core business activities as entrepreneurs and proud owners of small and medium enterprises.

“This is a commendable and rewarding exercise and TransNamib will proudly play a role to incubate and support your start-up businesses to ensure success not only to service TransNamib, but these new opportunities will enable you to spread your wings and play a different role in the economy,” he said.

TransNamib intends to transfer the Desert Express and the !Nara Express formerly known as the Shongololo Express to the empowerment arm as employees will be empowered to run these brands on a commercial basis.

“The board and management will ensure that these empowerment opportunities are structured in such a way that they minimise job losses and our employees will be transformed into employers,” he said to the enlightenment of many.

“I say this without fear or contradiction by my fellow board members and exco team that TransNamib will not set any employee up for failure. The empowerment strategy of our global turnaround plan is to transform our effected employees into job creators and not job seekers. It is therefore sad to read in the press and hear on radio and TV how certain sectors of the economy completely blow our noble turnaround plan out of context misleading the nation that TransNamib is retrenching employees leaving them in the wilderness of unemployment,” he lashed out.

Source : New Era