Overview of Gibela
In just a few years, Gibela has progressed from signatures on a contract to becoming an engine for the replacement of South Africa’s ageing fleet of commuter trains and the bedrock for the re-establishment of the country’s rail-manufacturing industry.
About the company
Formed in 2013 as a black economic empowerment company, the Gibela Rail Transport Consortium comprises of French rail company Alstom and South Africa’s Ubumbano Rail.
Gibela’s R51-billion contract with the South African government to manufacture 600 trains for the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (PRASA). The scope of the contract includes train maintenance, technical support and the manufacture and supply of spare parts.
Today, state-of-the-art X’trapolis MEGA commuter trains are rolling off the production line at Gibela’s bespoke R1-billion factory in South Africa’s Ekurhuleni metropolis.
In fulfilment of contractual obligations to PRASA, Gibela is training thousands of historically disadvantaged South Africans, mainly women – in technical skills for both Gibela and the manufacturing industry at large. Gibela continuously draws scores of South African companies, many of them black-owned start-ups, into its supply chain and works to improve the lives of people in its neighbouring communities.
Gibela will generate 1 500 direct jobs at peak of the project and thousands of indirect jobs through the supply chain over a 10-year period.
Our Vision and Values
Our vision is to lead the revitalisation of the South African railway sector and become a catalyst in PRASA’s endeavours to elevate commuter rail as a transport mode of choice for all people in urban areas.
Our values guide our everyday behaviour and every choice we make in the process of achieving our objectives. These values are critical to Gibela’s success. They define the way we work and operate as a company.
Trust and respect
Trust and respect at Gibela are achieved through individual and collective accountability.
Teamwork and partnership
We embrace diversity and demonstrate unwavering integrity as “one team”.
Focus and drive
Through sound leadership and proactive actions, we are driven by clear priorities and speed of execution.
Influencing the future
We are effecting sustainable change in the railways landscape.
Values are important to our success
Our values are a constant reminder of how we achieve our objectives. Our objectives are clearly defined and the reason we exist. At Gibela, we know that values won’t help us achieve anything if they have no personal meaning to us. To this end, we have appointed “values champions” to support our employees with any questions around our values.
Gibela’s ownership structure complies with South Africa’s black economic empowerment legislation.
French-based majority shareholder Alstom is a world leader in integrated transport systems, active in more than 60 countries and employing about 70 000 people. With a presence in South Africa for more than a century, Alstom is well placed to power technology and skills transfer to Gibela.
Ubumbano Rail is a black-owned consortium comprising three commercial entities – Khipunyawo Rail, the Elgin-Identity Rail Corporation and Community Rail – the PRASA Employee Share Option Trust (ESOP) and the Gibela ESOP and an education trust. Khipunyawo has been active in the rail sector for more than a decade, Elgin-Identity Rail Corporation has heavy-fabrication capabilities and wheel-refurbishment accreditation, while Community Rail is a new entrant to the rail sector.
Gibela is passionate about human capital and is heavily invested in skills development and technology transfer in the building of trains for the modern era. We provide an employee-based value proposition that enables our staff to advance their technical skills in world-class train design and manufacturing.
We also equip our employees with the requisite manufacturing support service skills to enable them to flourish in their careers. Gibela has a staff complement that is 46% female and 54% male, with 81% youth and 94% black employees.
Board of Directors
Irene CharnleyCertificate in Management Advanced Programme, Industrial Relations, Wits Business School; Diploma in Graphic Art, Reproduction and Technology, London College of PrintingRead more
Sonja De BruynLLB Hons, London School of Economics; MA Business and Economic Policy, McGill University, Montreal; Securities and Funding Authority (UK); Executive Programme (Harvard Kennedy School)Read more
Irene is currently the deputy chairperson of Smile Telecoms Holdings. She was, for 12 years, CEO of the same company, formerly known as Smile Telecoms Group.
She sits on several boards, including Smile Telecoms Holdings and all its subsidiary company boards – Smile Communications Tanzania, Smile Communications Democratic Republic of Congo, Smile Communications Uganda, Smile Communications Nigeria and Smile Communications PTY (a South Africa-based company); MTN Group; MCell; South African Broadcasting Corporation.
She is also the non-executive director for Metropolitan; South African Breweries; Premier Group LTD; Times Media Limited; MNet; MultiChoice; First National Bank.
President, Africa, Middle East & Central Asia (AMECA) region at Alstom
Before joining Alstom, Andrew was president for the Europe, Middle East, Africa and India region at Bombardier Transportation. His regional responsibilities included customer-relationship management, sales, services and project management for Europe (Switzerland, Italy, Iberia and Nordic countries), Middle East, Africa and India.
Andrew studied economics at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School and holds a master’s degree in industrial relations from Cornell University, New York. He has extensive experience in expanding profitable service businesses. Furthermore, he has led large-scale transformations, optimising organisational structures and strengthening employee engagement and accountability.
With extensive experience in finance, business and empowerment of women in South Africa. Sonja is the co-founder and principal shareholder of Identity Partners, an investor in established and growing businesses, advisor to government and corporate clients, with a dedicated fund to finance black youth and women entrepreneurs.
She currently sits on the boards of RMBH and RMI, Discovery Group, Remgro, Mr Price Group and the National Empowerment Fund. She has received recognition from the Association of Black Securities and Investment Professionals, the Black Management Forum and the World Economic Forum as a young global leader.
Managing director, Southern Africa cluster, MEA-GENL MNG-ASAH
Before moving to Alstom Ubunye, Bernard joined Gibela’s executive committee as a rolling-stock operations director in 2019, responsible for industrial operations and the growth of Dunnottar’s plant capacity for effective and efficient rolling-stock operations.
Bernard holds a master’s degree from the Industrial Management School in Arras, France. His career at Alstom spans 30 years and includes various executive positions in the United States, South Korea, China, Russia and France. He was previously Alstom’s managing director for the Western and Central Asia cluster, based in Astana, Kazakhstan. He successfully steered industrial sites such as Reichshoffen and La Rochelle, designing and manufacturing regional trains, tramways and very high-speed trains.
Mokganyetsi is the founding director of specialist monitoring and evaluation consultancy firm, Uweso Consulting, and Genorah Resources, an emerging black mining company that was previously the majority shareholder in Australian Stock Exchange-listed Nkwe Platinum.
She has more than 30 years of experience in education management, e-learning, strategic planning, as well as stakeholder and human resource management. She is also a member of the Institute of Directors in Southern Africa. Mokganyetsi has served on the boards of the Matthew Goniwe School of Leadership and Governance and the Gauteng Institute of Education Development and Management.
Tristan joined Alstom as assistant to the senior auditor in 2004. He served as vice president: internal audit and internal control for three years before becoming vice president: finance, Middle East and Africa in 2019. During the audit and control tenure, Alstom’s Dow Jones Sustainability Index score soared to 86/100 on risk and crisis management (versus a peer average of 56/100).
Reggie Boqo (CA)(SA)BCom, North West University; BCompt Honours, University of South AfricaRead more
Colette YendeExecutive Development Programme, GIBS Business School; B Tech (Quality Management), University of JohannesburgRead more
Thokozani MabuyaBTech in Human Resources Management from the Durban University of Technology; Postgraduate Diploma in Management Practice from Henley Business SchoolRead more
Hector was appointed Chief Executive on 1 May 2019. He initially joined Gibela in 2016 as general manager in the CEO’s office, and became project director for the Manufacture and Supply Agreement for PRASA’s new rolling stock and engineer for the rolling stock project in January 2017.
He is an experienced business executive with proven capabilities in the operations, distribution and logistic sectors of private and state-owned organisations, where he has managed complex business units. Hector has previously overseen capital projects with operational expenditure of more than R1-billion and has received recognition for financial, operational and safety achievements in businesses internationally.
Previously group chief financial officer of the City of Johannesburg, Reggie joined Gibela as chief financial officer in June 2018 with experience in finance that spans over 20 years. Reggie has held various positions, including group financial director at a financial services company. He has served in executive roles and at board level in both the public and private sectors.
Buyiswa joined Gibela as the economic development director at the end of 2013. She is responsible for the company's contractual commitments on local content, enterprise development, skills development, socio-economic development, transformation and stakeholder relations.
With more than 20 years’ experience in economic development, enterprise development and transformation with multinational companies including Sasol Mining, Sasol Oil and Shell South Africa. Her accomplishments include the establishment of the Shell South Africa’s Enterprise Development Fund to assist black-owned small, medium and micro enterprises.
Loïc has extensive experience in managing multi-skills teams within large-scale projects. At Gibela, he is in charge of the engineering, industrialisation, supply chain, manufacturing, test and commissioning, enterprise resource planning methods and tools, environmental health and safety, facilities management and planning, as well as managing up to 650 FTE.
Recognised for his dynamism and capacity to empower and develop teams to achieve targets, Loïc is organised with a clear vision to drive change on the Gibela shop floor through a strong team spirit, process improvement, adapted tools and visual management.
Vuyisa comes with more than 20 years’ experience in civil engineering. She has worked as a traffic engineer at BKS (Pty) Ltd, responsible for transport modelling and simulation, road and bridge design and traffic impact assessments for private commercial developments. She later moved to transport infrastructure projects, leading commuter rail transport planning, road-based mass transit systems planning and implementation.
Tlomatsane has a track record in project and construction management of high-profile projects, including the Department of Transport, City of Johannesburg and the Johannesburg Development Agency. She joined Gibela as a construction director in April 2016 and managed the construction of Gibela’s new train manufacturing plant. In July 2018, she joined Gibela’s executive committee, becoming the organisation’s service operations director.
Convey is an admitted attorney of the Republic of South Africa, a member of the Corporate Counsel Association of South Africa and registered with the Southern African Institute of Chartered Secretaries and Administrators.
He started his career in corporate and property law, then moved into advisory positions, drafting legislation for the government, and also enjoyed a corporate career with an American manufacturing firm as a senior legal and contracts counsel and company secretary. He serviced developing and emerging markets before joining Gibela’s executive committee in September 2017.
Colette is an accomplished procurement operations executive, with a focused orientation towards innovation and transformation. She specialises in the provision of strategic direction for supply chain management, sourcing and procurement, category management and contracts management, as well as both internal and external relationship management (partners and suppliers).
With experience spanning more than two decades in a variety of industries, Colette has worked for Barloworld Equipment, Transnet Engineering, Total SA and Eskom.
These roles have enabled Colette to find her passion and “calling”. As a fair and firm leader, she holds strong beliefs in ongoing learning and teaching, within the team and as an individual. Working hand in hand with a network of stakeholders to build and share her extensive knowledge base, she is known across Gibela for going the extra mile to confront and resolve diverse business and industry-related challenges.
Thokozani Mabuya’s career spans more than two decades and cuts across various industries, including engineering, automotive components manufacturing, mining, human resources, business consulting, and chemical manufacturing. He has held positions ranging from business consultant to board-level executive director, and has an interest in the areas of organisational development and human resources.
Thokozani’s practical experience is augmented by academic qualifications that include a BTech in Human Resources Management from the Durban University of Technology; a Postgraduate Diploma in Management Practice from Henley Business School; and a Logistics and Supply Chain Management Certificate from Penn State University in the United States.
Adrian joined Gibela in November 2020 as a project management executive. He holds a mechanical engineering degree from the University of Cape Town, as well as a master’s degree in project management from the University of Pretoria. He is a PMI-certified project management and risk management professional.
With more than 21 years of experience in the petrochemical and related industries, Adrian has worked as a project manager on mega petrochemical, power-station and pipeline projects. He has also worked with, and led, international project teams in work-share arrangements between South Africa, India, France and Germany.
Ethics and compliance
Gibela is committed to the highest standards of ethical business practices and we believe in an environment of open and honest dialogue that encourages employees to approach their manager or supervisor should they suspect violations of company standards and policies.