Southern African Railways Association 10 Year Journey
SOUTHERN AFRICAN RAILWAYS
ASSOCIATION 10 YEAR JOURNEY
Formation of SARA
SARA was formed in 1996 as an offshoot of two
organisations, the Southern African Development
Coordinating Conference (SADCC) Railways Chief Executives
Conference (SRCEC) & the Southern African Railways Chief
Executives Conference after realising the;
continued decline in railway market share and
failure by governments to continue subsidizing railways
increase in road haulage
need to re-design railway services to fulfil;
Service predictability & safety
Seamless one stop service
Promoting sharing of resources
Formation of SARA cont’d
Need for a lobby group as identified by the CIDA funded
study of 1994/95 with the following major areas of
Fair surface transport competition
Improving governments’ awareness of the importance of rail
as a mode of transport
Article 13.1 of the SADC Protocol on Transport,
Communications and Meteorology recognises SARA and
other regional organisations.
Founding members of SARA
The following are the founding members of SARA;
Botswana Railways (BR)
Companhia do Caminho de Ferro de Benguela (CFB)
Portos E Caminhos de Ferro de Mozambique EP (CFM)
Malawi Railways (1994) Ltd
National Railways of Zimbabwe (NRZ)
Swaziland Railway (SR)
Tanzania Zambia Railway Authority (TAZARA)
Zambia Railways Limited (ZRL)
The SARA Secretariat was formed in 1998 with the main
function of coordinating the activities of the Association.
The Secretariat office is based in Harare, Zimbabwe.
Engineer Remigious Makumbe (now with SADC Secretariat)
was the first Secretary General (Executive Director) of
The current Executive Director is Mr. Bernard Dzawanda.
The Secretariat is financed by annual subscriptions from
The SARA Board’s rotating presidency has been held as
Mr. A.S. Le Roux – Spoornet (1996/97)
Mr. A. Ramji – Botswana Railways (1997/98)
Mr. A.Mabena- National Railways of Zimbabwe (1998/99)
Mr. B.Crawford – Zambia Railways Limited (1999/2000)
Mr. G.Mahlalela – Swaziland Railway (2000/01 & 2001/2)
Mr. E.Dvir – Beitbridge Bulawayo Railways (2002/03)
Eng. R.Fonseca – CFM (2003/04)
Mr. J.Shaetonhodi – TransNamib (2004/05 & 2005/06)
Mr. B.Botana – Railway Systems of Zambia (2006/07)
Dr G.Mahlalela – Swaziland Railway (2007/08)
Lobbying & advocacy
Notable success in convincing governments on the importance of railways.
Positive outcomes recorded on fuel levies.
Levelling of playing field remains a major challenge.
Progress made on sharing of resources and through working leading to
improved transit times.
Joint train planning
Creation of Corridor Management Groups
Customer base/business volume
Business volume has not significantly improved since the formation of SARA
but the railways have managed to retain some major customers
SARA’s achievements cont’d
Maintenance standards on wagons improved to allow them to cover
1000km before examination.
Ability by members to maintain each other’s equipment hence
facilitating smooth interchange.
Joint training of staff in areas of operations, marketing, safety and
Rolling Stock Information System (RSIS).
Austrian Development Agency funded track maintenance project.
SARA achievements cont’d
New member railways have joined SARA over the years as follows;
Tanzania Railway Corporation (year)
Beitbridge Bulawayo Railways (year)
Railway Systems of Zambia (year)
Angola x 2 (year)
Other new associate members include Imperial Fleet Services,
Manica Africa, Railway Safety Regulator of South Africa.
The following challenges have been
confronting SARA over the years;
Lack of funding for rail infrastructure
Equipment availability & standardisation
Internal versus regional procedures
The Association now boasts of 21 members
of which 13 are full members and 8 are
New membership thrust to admit
customers, suppliers and other interest
groups adopted in 2004.
New membership composition provides the
much needed balance for exchange of
information and ideas that enhance service
SARA today cont’d
To facilitate the creation of an environment
whereby the railway industry is a top performer
and make rail transport the mode of choice.
To be the leader in the promotion of trade,
movement of goods and passengers, and
economic growth in the SADC region and Africa
as a whole.
SARA today cont’d
To promote the railway industry in the SADC region.
Advocate for fair and sustainable competition among all
surface transport providers.
Promote regional and continental rail network connectivity.
Exploit interconnectivity and achieve cross border operability.
Promote alliances for the exchange of technical information,
strategies, skills development and training
Develop, enhance and harmonise policies, governance and
Promote alliances with other modes of transport where
opportunities exist in order to achieve synergy and provide
total logistics solutions.
Addressing challenges & way forward
Thrust of strategy and vision
The new SARA strategy developed in 2004 aims to
elevate the association’s performance by focusing on;
Capacity building in railways
Standardisation of operating resources and procedures
Customer service and performance improvement.
Areas requiring assistance from
governments & collaborating partners
Financing of railway infrastructure
Levelling of the playing field between road and
Duty exemptions on imported recapitalisation
equipment and spares.
Exemption from fuel levies.
Public Private Partnerships (PPPs)
Enforcement of overloading controls on roads
Information technology and capacity building