Botswana lambasts SA’s ‘cartel’ ports

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Sadique Kebonang
Sadique Kebonang

Botswana’s minister of mineral resources, green technology and energy security, Sadique Kebonang, had some harsh words for the way exports were handled at South Africa’s ports.

During the IHS Energy South African Coal Export Conference in Cape Town last week, he said the ports were run by cartels, which made life difficult when it came to exporting coal to foreign markets.

“One of the things we have experienced, if I am allowed to be honest, is that, in terms of players that are involved in this sort of game, there’s not a lot of encouragement to see countries such as Botswana really succeed in exporting coal because you have to take your coal to the ports in South Africa, and they are managed by cartels,” Kebonang said.

“It’s very difficult to ship it out. That is why one of the things we are doing is looking at regional inland markets such as Zimbabwe and the Northern Cape, where there is domestic use.

“We are sitting with 200 billion tons of coal, which we want to sell. Some of the best coal is found in Botswana. Unfortunately, we are not always busy and there’s been a move from coal to solar power,” he said.

Talking about investment in Botswana, Kebonang said the country offered the best investment climate, citing government’s 50-year partnership with
De Beers as an example.

At the same conference, Transnet’s general manager for capital planning, Brian Monakali, said South Africa and Botswana would soon be signing a memorandum of understanding that would lead to the construction of a long-awaited 186km railway line from Lephalale to Botswana, a move that should make transporting Botswana’s coal easier.

Monakali said there was progress in Transnet’s heavy haul system expansion programme, which is set to be worth billions of rands.

These expansions include a Swaziland rail link, collaboration between Transnet and Botswana, and the proposed new heavy haul line between Thabazimbi and Ermelo.

Monakali also said that a concept study was undertaken a few years ago that indicated that there was a need to unlock Botswana’s coal reserves through the Waterberg network, which would be the most economic route to either Maputo or Richards Bay.

Botswana’s Minister of Mineral Resources, Green Technology and Energy Security, Sadique Kebonang, has lambasted South African ports this week saying they were run by cartels and this made life difficult when it comes to exporting coal to foreign markets.

“One of the things we have experienced, if I am allowed to be honest, is that in terms of players that are involved in this sort of game, there’s not a lot of encouragement to see countries such as Botswana really succeeding in exporting coal because you have to take your coal to the ports and they are managed by cartels,” Kebonang said at the IHS Energy South African Coal Export Conference 2018 in Cape Town this week.

“It’s very difficult to ship it out. That is why one of the things we are doing is look at is the regional inland [markets] like Zimbabwe and Northern Cape where there is domestic use,” he added.

“We are sitting with 200 billion tonnes of coal, which we are seeking to sell because some of the best coal you find in Botswana. Unfortunately, we are not always busy and there’s a move from coal to solar,” he said.

Talking about investment in Botswana, Kebonang said the country offered the best investment climate and cited that government’s 50 year-old partnership with De Beers as an example.

At the same conference, Transnet’s General Manager for Capital Planning, Brian Monakali, said South Africa and Botswana would soon be signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) that would lead to the construction of a long-awaited 186 km long railway line from Lephalale to Botswana, a move that should make transporting of Botswana’s coal easier.

According to Monakali said there was progress on Transnet’s four coal-heavy-haul-system expansion programme that are set to be worth billions of rand.

These expansions include: Swaziland rail link, Botswana collaboration between Transnet and Botswana railway, Waterberg and the proposed new heavy haul line between Thabazimbi and Ermelo.

Monakali also there was a concept study done a few years ago that indicated that there was a need to unlock the Botswana coal reserves through the Waterberg network, which would be the most economic route, to either Maputo or Richards Bay.

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