South Africa has banned Zimbabwean trains from its territory stating that the old wagons raise a high risk of derailment.
The ban was confirmed by National Railways of Zimbabwe (NRZ) general manager Ms Respina Zinyanduko Monday while answering questions before Parliament’s Transport Portfolio Committee. Zinyanduko said:
The challenge about our failure to send our wagons to South Africa is that our wagons are old.
Because the wagons are old, SA does not want them on their rail lines because they say they have a high risk of derailment because of their age. They do not want to risk damaging their tracks.
If you look at other countries like DRC, Zambia, Botswana and Mozambique, our wagons are going all the way to these countries without any challenges.
So, the only challenge with SA is our wagons. They say if we buy new wagons, they will allow them into SA.
Their wagons (SA) are actually coming into Zimbabwe. Because our wagons are sub-standard, NRZ is now using SA’s wagons to carry goods to SA.
Zinyanduko added that NRZ’s railway system needed new wagons as most of its equipment had gone beyond its average life span of 40 years.
She said of the 68 mainline locomotives, 14 of these were not working and the rest needed upgrading or replacement. Zinyanduko added:
Most of them have outlived their 25 years life span. Wagons have also outlived their 40-year life span and most had gone beyond 60 years.
Over the years, the company which is wholly owned by the government claimed to have entered into deals with some international companies including Yapi Merkezi, a Turkish company, in a bid to recapitalise and modernise the nation’s railway system.
There is no notable transformation to date.