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Botswana Railways Case Study

07 June 2024

Botswana Railways has established itself as a key player in the transportation sector of Southern Africa. Achieving ISO 9001, ISO 14001, and ISO 45001 certifications through NQA has further strengthened its commitment to quality, environmental sustainability, and occupational health and safety.


Introducing Botswana Railways

Botswana Railways, based in Mahalapye, Botswana, is vital to the nation's infrastructure. With 188 dedicated employees operating across five sites, Botswana Railways specialises in transporting goods by rail and maintaining railway infrastructure and rolling stock.

A strategic leap forward with an Integrated Management System

In January 2024, Botswana Railways secured three ISO certifications through NQA:

These certifications underscore the company's dedication to maintaining high standards across quality management, environmental stewardship, and occupational health and safety.

By developing and integrating a comprehensive Business Management System that includes ISO 9001, ISO 14001, ISO 45001, and SANS 3000-1:2016, Botswana Railways has set a new benchmark in operational standards. The organisation also plans to incorporate the NOSA CMB 253 and NOSA Railways Standard CMB 255 into this system. This strategic shift, driven by the Botswana Railways Board, aims to modernise operations by aligning ISO standards and clauses, streamlining processes, and eliminating paper-based systems.

The pursuit of ISO certification was a deliberate effort to benchmark operations against international standards, achieve corporate objectives, enhance marketing within the Southern African Development Community (SADC) region, and improve the company’s image and operational efficiency. This move aligns seamlessly with their business strategy, enhancing their reputation and operational excellence.


Choosing NQA as the ideal partner for certification

Botswana Railways selected NQA due to its competitive pricing, professional services, and status as an internationally recognised certification body. NQA's ability to provide comprehensive and professional auditing services made them the preferred choice for Botswana Railways’ certification needs.

Seamless preparation and audit experience

In preparation for the certification audit, Botswana Railways partnered with a local consultancy, Energy Management en Efficient Specialists. This partnership focused on developing and implementing an Integrated Health and Safety, Environment, and Quality Management System based on ISO 9001, ISO 14001, ISO 45001, and the South African Railway Safety Standard SANS 3000-1:2016. Over three years, this meticulous process laid the foundation for a successful certification.

The certification audit was conducted by Mr. Ernst Camffer, NQA’s auditor, whose expertise in ISO standards and effective system testing proved invaluable. His exemplary time management, engaging interactions with executive management and employees, and excellent communication skills facilitated a smooth audit process. The well-prepared audit report accurately reflected the audit findings, earning high praise from Botswana Railways.

Business improvement and growth

Achieving ISO certification has significantly boosted Botswana Railways' operations and reputation. Implementing a maturity model has already reduced the cost of risk by 8%, with an ambitious goal to bring it down to 2.5% or less in the next few years. This certification has also fostered a stronger client orientation, heightened safety awareness, and an enhanced quality focus among employees. 

The improved customer-centric approach has inspired Botswana Railways to explore new routes for importing and exporting goods, thereby reinforcing its market position and paving the way for future growth.

What is next for Botswana Railways?

Looking ahead, Botswana Railways aims to certify Botswana Railways North and the Botswana Railways Dry Port in Namibia. They also plan to integrate additional ISO standards, such as Information Security (ISO 27001), Asset Management (ISO 55001), and Energy Management (ISO 50001). Botswana Railways intends to continue utilising NQA for further training to maintain and enhance its management systems.

Enhance your knowledge of ISO standards with NQA’s training courses.

Final thoughts from NQA

Botswana Railways has shown its company’s dedication to maintaining high standards in rail transportation through successful certification and ongoing commitment to excellence. Botswana Railways serves as an exemplary model for other companies in the region, demonstrating how strategic certifications can drive operational efficiency, market competitiveness, and business growth. We can’t wait to continue this journey with you through the oncoming years and seeing the company achieve even greater success. 

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