Media releases

Gibela to deliver cutting-edge commuter trains into South African rail network

A new, empowered South African company, Gibela (Pty) Limited (Gibela) introduced itself today to the country's media. Gibela is charged with supplying 600 cutting-edge commuter trains for South Africans over a 10-year period. The trains will be manufactured at a new purpose-built facility in South Africa, staffed by South Africans.

  • One of the largest rail projects in the world; replacement of South Africa's stock will take place in two phases over several decades
  • Gibela responsible for Phase 1 implementation
  • Thousands of skilled jobs will be created
  • Catalyst for transformation in South Africa – opportunity to revitalise rail industry

Johannesburg, 26 June 2014:  

A new, empowered South African company, Gibela (Pty) Limited (Gibela) introduced itself today to the country's media. Gibela is charged with supplying 600 cutting-edge commuter trains for South Africans over a 10-year period. The trains will be manufactured at a new purpose-built facility in South Africa, staffed by South Africans.

Gibela CEO Marc Granger says that, while the first 20 trains will be manufactured at a facility in Brazil, South Africans will be involved, hands-on, in their construction in order to receive the necessary skills training.

The remaining 580 trains, comprising 3,480 coaches, will be manufactured in South Africa, with production ramping up to a planned 62 trains a year.

Gibela was formed to tender for the R51 billion replacement programme of South Africa's outdated commuter rolling stock, as well as to provide the expertise required to deliver a high-quality rail service to commuters.

The company is 61% held by Alstom Southern African Holdings, 9% by new Africa Rail (Pty) Ltd and 30% by Ubumbano Rail (Pty) Ltd, and is fully compliant with broad-based black employment equity legislation.

Granger is clear that, in spite of Alstom's majority shareholding in the company, this is not a foreign purchase contract. "It is a contract located in South Africa to benefit the country and its people," he said.

Gibela's customer, the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (PRASA), is responsible for commuter trains in metropolitan areas and in commissioning the replacement programme is executing its mandate in terms of the National Development Plan for 2030. The replacement of ageing equipment with a modern service will provide maximum transportation value for passengers and offer a dignified journey.

Granger emphasised that Gibela will do more than just deliver trains.

"The Gibela journey is a catalyst for transformation in South Africa; we will be delivering modern trains, developing an efficient local industrial plant and supporting South Africa's economic and social development," he explained.

An area of some 70ha in Dunnottar, in the Ekurhuleni Metropolitan Municipality of Gauteng, has been designated for the following: an integration site where trains will be assembled, a facility for the manufacture of train components, and a supplier park.

"These facilities will be planned and designed to the highest environmental standards, in line with the global Leadership in Environmental Engineering and Design grading (Platinum)," said Granger.

"This means that environmental efficiency is a priority – including the use and recycling of water and power," he said. "This facility is intended to set an example within our global footprint, as well as setting a new benchmark for South Africa."

The facility will provide on-going maintenance and engineering services, a training facility for railway-specific skills and an engineering centre of excellence. The project plan involves developing the Dunnottar facility in parallel with the manufacture of the first trains in Brazil.

Gibela is committed to ensuring 70% local content on the project once the manufacturing pace has stabilised. A network of existing suppliers is in place, including local contractors and international businesses that have expressed interest in the project. These will be incorporated into the local supply chain, creating new jobs and developing a vast array of railway skills in accordance with BBBEE and employment equity requirements.

The replacement project is a massive, two-decade project that presents Gibela with an opportunity to revitalise the South African economy by creating much-needed jobs. Some 9,500 jobs will be created by Gibela and its first-tier suppliers, with thousands more indirect jobs at various stages of the resulting supply chain.

"PRASA wanted this contract to involve and profit as many South Africans as possible. We are confident that the project has been structured not only to revitalise South Africa's rail sector, but to create a centre of excellence on the continent that will result in the country becoming the preferred supplier of railway supplies for countries in sub-Saharan Africa," said Granger.

For more information please contact:

On behalf of Gibela:
Pamella Radebe
Tel: +27 11 518 8232
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Russell and Associates:
James Duncan/ Pam McLeod/ Leigh King
Tel: +27 11 880 3924
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

GIBELA 2014. All rights reserved. Information contained in this document is indicative only. No representation or warranty is given or should be relied on that it is complete or correct or will apply to any particular project. This will depend on the technical and commercial circumstances. It is provided without liability and is subject to change without notice. Reproduction, use or disclosure to third parties, without express written authority, is strictly prohibited.