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Business / Economics

INTERVIEW: Business and Economics Researcher, Josef Sheehama on TransNamib: A Call for Accountability and Strategic Investment

todayMay 27, 2024 12

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Today, we delve into a pressing issue raised by Josef Sheehama regarding TransNamib, the country’s national railway company. His insights are crucial as they highlight the urgent need for investment in infrastructure, coupled with stringent accountability measures.

Urgent Need for Investment

Josef Sheehama opens the discussion by emphasizing the necessity for the Namibian government to inject funds into TransNamib. He points out the critical areas that require immediate attention: upgrading infrastructure, replacing outdated locomotives, and overall enhancement of the railway system. He asserts that substantial investment is essential to elevate the quality and efficiency of TransNamib’s services.

Leadership and Accountability

A significant portion of Sheehama’s argument revolves around the leadership within TransNamib and the associated government bodies. He stresses that meaningful conversations must occur between TransNamib’s leaders and the line ministers. The success of such a significant investment depends heavily on the competence and dedication of those at the helm.

Sheehama warns against a complacent attitude where leaders might rely on government bailouts without striving for profitability and efficiency. This mindset, he argues, leads to a cycle of dependency that ultimately does not serve the national interest. The management of TransNamib must be business-oriented and profit-driven to ensure the sustainability and success of any investment made.

Prudence in Financial Management

Drawing attention to the careful handling of investments, Sheehama insists on managing government funds with extreme caution. He highlights the need for accountability, particularly among the leadership, to ensure that public money is not continuously diverted to sectors that fail to deliver returns.

He underscores the importance of seeing a return on investment from TransNamib and other state-owned enterprises. Without a tangible return, such investments are deemed unproductive and a burden on taxpayers.

Strategic Business Planning

Sheehama notes the recent strategic business plan by TransNamib, which includes the launch of the TransNamib Railway Pricing Strategy Project. While this initiative aims to enhance revenue generation and competitive sustainability, he remains skeptical about its long-term viability and ability to compete with smaller players in the market.

For these strategies to succeed, he asserts that the management needs to make correct, business-oriented decisions. The leaders must focus on strengthening revenue generation, enhancing competitiveness, and ensuring commercial viability. The overarching goal is to drive TransNamib towards a profitable and sustainable future.

Consequences Management

A recurring theme in Sheehama’s address is the need for “consequences management.” He argues that ineffective chief executives and management teams should face termination if they fail to perform. This call for accountability is crucial; it ensures that leaders are held responsible for their actions and the outcomes of their decisions.

Sheehama concludes by questioning the readiness and capability of the current leadership to drive TransNamib towards profitability. He calls for a serious and meaningful approach from the line minister and the board of directors to apply consequences management rigorously. The time to act is now, and complacency can no longer be tolerated.


Josef Sheehama’s commentary on TransNamib is a powerful call for strategic investment paired with stringent accountability. The message is clear: while the national railway system is a vital transport means, it must be managed with a focus on profitability and efficiency. The leaders must be business-minded, and there must be consequences for poor performance. Only through such measures can TransNamib realize its potential and contribute meaningfully to Namibia’s economic expansion.

Thank you for your attention. Stay informed and engaged as we continue to discuss and address critical national issues.

Written by: Leonard Witbeen

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