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HomeAfrica FocusSouthern African Railways Association (SARA) announces new leadership at annual board meeting

Southern African Railways Association (SARA) announces new leadership at annual board meeting

The Southern African Railways Association (SARA) is the mandated rail transport body for the Southern African Development Community (SADC). SARA plays a significant role in advancing railway development across the continent through its railway operator members.

The Southern African Railways Association (SARA) Board Members convened in Cape Town from 19-20 June 2024 for the annual SARA Board meeting. The event was marked by significant discussions, strategic planning, and the transition of leadership within the association.

In terms of leadership, the SARA Board has elected the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (PRASA) Group CEO Hishaam Emeran as the new President. Emeran served SARA for the last year as Vice President. The newly elected Vice President is Nixon Dlamini, the Chief Executive Officer of Eswatini Railways.

The newly elected Vice President of the Southern African Railways Association (SARA) Nixon Dlamini, the Chief Executive Officer of Eswatini Railways.

Outgoing SARA President, Eng. Agostinho Francisco Langa Junior, the President of the Board of Directors for CFM (Mozambique Ports and Railways), highlighted in his outgoing speech the collaborative spirit that defines SARA. He noted the synergies within the membership of the association that help SARA follow through on the organisation’s planned mandate.

A key achievement during his tenure was the approval of the strategic plan 2023-2027, aimed at facilitating the SADC Regional Railway Development Agenda through sustainable practices and proven global railway best practices.

Outgoing President of the Southern African Railways Association (SARA), Eng. Agostinho Francisco Langa Junior – President of the Board of Directors for CFM (Mozambique Ports and Railways).

Expressing gratitude to his colleagues, Eng. Agostinho Francisco Langa Junior acknowledged the effective communication and collaboration facilitated by the SARA Executive Director, Mr. Babe Botana.

He also praised Mr. Botana for his dedication to the tasks assigned to him. As he passed the “baton” to the newly elected president, Eng. Agostinho Francisco Langa Junior extended his best wishes to Mr. Emeran, urging him to prioritise SARA and assuring him of continued support from CFM (Mozambique Ports and Railways).

In his acceptance speech, the newly elected President, Hishaam Emeran, emphasised the central role of SARA in promoting regional trade and sustainable economic growth. He acknowledged the revival of rail transport in the SADC region, driven by member organisations, and expressed confidence in the strength and experience of the region’s rail leaders.

Emeran highlighted the challenges faced by the railway transport sector, including inadequate and poorly maintained infrastructure, and stressed the importance of continued investment in development, upgrades, and maintenance.

The Southern African Railways Association (SARA) Executive Director, Mr. Babe Botana, seated next to SARA’s newly elected President Hishaam Emeran.

Emeran also shared successes achieved by SARA members, such as the delivery of new electric locomotives and passenger coaches in Tanzania, financial commitments for the Lobito Corridor, and plans for the Trans-Kalahari railway project. He noted the achievements in South Africa, where the PRASA-initiated Gibela Rail Consortium has been manufacturing world-class passenger trains and refurbishing existing fleets.

Emeran concluded by expressing his commitment to visiting member countries, collaborating to solve shared challenges, and supporting the sustainable growth of the region’s rail sector. He looks forward to serving as President of SARA and partnering with all members to chart a prosperous path for the sector in the coming months and years.

Nixon Dlamini, the newly elected Vice President of SARA, expressed his humility and appreciation for the opportunity to serve. He emphasised the importance of driving the strategy to increase market share for railways and outlined key enablers necessary to meet customer needs and increase rail share.

Dlamini highlighted the need for investments, enabling legislation, governance frameworks, and inter-rail business agreements. He stressed the importance of capacity, including rolling stock, infrastructure, people, and technology.

Dlamini stated that the railways’ offering in the region must be seamless, sustainable, reliable, consistent, and efficient to ensure a positive customer experience. He concluded by expressing his commitment to serving and supporting the association, reiterating the SARA philosophy of “We are better together.”

The Southern African Railways Association (SARA) is the mandated rail transport body for the Southern African Development Community (SADC). SARA plays a significant role in advancing railway development across the continent through its railway operator members.

Visit the SARA website: https://sararail.org/


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