Tag: 上海夜网FI

Rebels seize Sizarail

first_imgTHE FUTURE for rail services that eke out a precarious existence in Zaire looks bleaker than ever following news early last month that Laurent Kabila’s opposition forces had shut down Sizarail, the operating company owned 51% by the Comazar consortium formed of South Africa’s Transnet and Belgium’s Transurb, and 49% by the Zaire government.Sizarail had succeeded in restoring life to the virtually moribund lines on which the country relies to move copper and other mineral exports. Ten years ago Zaire National Railways was carrying about 4 million tonnes of freight a year, but by 1993 barely half a million tonnes was moved. Sizarail has since succeeded in reducing wagon turnround times and improving reliability, but invasion of its Lubumbashi headquarters by armed troops, seizure of its assets and expulsion of its Belgian managing director threatens an instant return to decline.With South Africa trying hard to arrange a peaceful deal between the forces of Kabila and those of President Mobutu, a channel exists for contact between Transnet and the rebels. Transnet Executive Director Mafika Mkwanazi is hoping that a deal will be reached with a future government in Zaire to allow operations to resume – he said on May 7 that Kabila’s forces would not be able to manage Zaire’s railways without outside help. Rebel forces apparently requested a meeting with South African rail experts during May, so there is some ground for hope. The biggest danger is that civil war between Kabila’s forces and those of President Mobutu will destroy what remains of Zaire’s railways. olast_img read more