Bots continues to be ‘dumping site’ for Japan used cars
By Mpho Tebele
Gaborone- Botswana continues to be a destination for vehicles from Japan, especially second hand cars, Statistics Botswana General Statistician Annah Majelantle has said amid concerns that the southern African nation has been turned into a dumping ground for Japan’s second hand cars.
According to Majelantle, most of the used vehicles were from Japan with 86.7 percent of the total used vehicles, followed by Singapore and South Africa with 5.0 and 3.5 percent respectively.
She said the majority of the new vehicles were from South Africa, which was 85.4 percent of the total new vehicles and vehicles bought in Botswana followed with 7.1 percent.
She said new vehicles from Japan made 2.2 percent of total new vehicles, while vehicles from Pakistan made 1.6 percent of total new vehicles. For rebuilt vehicles, 50.0 percent were rebuilt in Botswana, while Japan recorded 41.7 percent of total rebuilt vehicles.
South Africa and Germany each recorded 4.2 percent of total rebuilt vehicles.
Second hand cars from Japan shipped to Botswana are bought at anything from 2000 dollars. Thousands of Botswana citizens now own these second hand cars from Japan.
Japan, which has strict carbon emissions laws, has created a massive industry in second hand car exports to poor third world countries in the African continent like Botswana.
But there are growing concerns that imported second hand vehicles have now littered roads in urban centres of African countries including Botswana.
Environmentalists have long warned that emissions from these vehicles are becoming a major source of air pollution.
Answering a question from a journalist recently who wanted to know if the government does not consider banning second hand cars imported from Asian countries to reduce carbon emissions, Environmental Minister Tshekedi Khama said “these vehicles coming outside Botswana are a double sword.”
He said the vehicles have benefited a considerable number of Batswana since they are affordable. Therefore, he took issue with the country’s transport system saying it is wanting in many aspects.
“Is our transport system suitable, is it of required standard, no it is not. We should have a good transport system. Let’s ensure that the emissions from these cars are of acceptable standard,” he said.
A taxi transport operator, Wabuya Keobonye said the vehicles from Japan have benefited ordinary citizens citing himself as one of the people who are irking out a living from using the cars for public transport business.
“Currently I have five taxis and my cousin has seven and we have in a way created employment by hiring some people as drivers.
“We are not the only one who have done that as there a number of taxi owners who have also done the same,” he said adding that currently almost every household in the country has a car.