10 August 2017 SADC / South Africa

Numbers Tell Story Of Progress Made In Three Years

Gibela Rail Transport Consortium (Gibela) celebrates its third anniversary with a list of landmark achievements that sets South Africa’s railway sector well on track to recovery after decades of languishment. 

Gibela, a joint venture comprised of Alstom, New Africa Rail and Ubumbano Rail, was established primarily to deliver on a €4 billion contract with the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (PRASA) for the manufacture of 600 state-of-the-art X’Trapolis Mega commuter trains for Metrorail. 

“Just some of the numbers indicate what has been achieved in just three years,” says Gibela CEO Thierry Darthout. “We have laid a very strong foundation, and are well placed to deliver on our targets.” 

Since its launch at the end of July 2014, Gibela has overseen the manufacture of the first 20 trains at an Alstom plant in Brazil, using South African materials and involving South Africans. Of the 20, 17 are already in commercial service and have clocked up more than 180 000 kilometres. 

Some 820 South Africans have secured fixed-term employment during the construction of Gibela’s R1 billion bespoke South African manufacturing facility and associated training centre at Dunnottar in Ekurhuleni, now more than 50% completed. 

More than 200 engineers and technicians – including 80 women – have been trained and deployed as full-time Gibela employees; 50 skilled and semi-skilled artisans and technicians have been recruited, and 65 apprentices selected to begin their apprenticeships at the new training centre. 

Bursaries have been awarded to 250 South African students for study in rail-related fields at South African tertiary institutions. 

To meet its demanding local content requirement, Gibela has on-boarded 54 South African suppliers to supply materials, parts and services. In the process, more than 4 700 jobs are being supported by the company’s activities. 

The first South African-built train is scheduled to roll off the production line towards the end of 2018, with an average of 62 trains a year to follow over the next 10 years. A contract between Gibela and PRASA for service and maintenance of the trains will run concurrently for 19 years. 

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