Address by Thierry Darthout – Gibela CEO – at the official launch of the Make A Difference campaign at Mom Sebone Secondary School, Duduza


I wish to acknowledge the MMC of Finance in Ekurhuleni and his delegation, members of the school governing body, councillor and ward committee members. Gibela shareholders and staff members. I also wish to acknowledge the parents and the community of Duduza. Let me also say ALL PROTOCOL OBSERVED.

Thank you for this opportunity for Gibela to introduce itself to the Duduza community today.

Our company was launched in July 2014 with a very specific purpose – to build a new fleet of passenger trains for PRASA as part of the government’s efforts to provide a modern, reliable, safe and comfortable commuter experience for all South Africans.

In less than four years, this dream is close to becoming a reality. The first train, wholly assembled on South African soil, here in Ekurhuleni, is set to roll on the tracks by the end of 2018. At the end of April 2018, 186 out of a total of 660 Gibela employees are residents of Ekurhuleni and are involved in the train manufacturing activities at our plant. In so doing, they are gaining critical skills in modern train manufacturing which, with considerable experience, they can go on to use anywhere in the world.

We took up residence at our brand new plant at No.1 Shosholoza Avenue on 2 January 2018. And, as is the case with any good neighbour, we felt that it was important to come to you to introduce ourselves formally.

Our company has an obligation to develop the skills of some 19 500 people over the life of its 10-year contract with PRASA. We are here today to share with you some of the initiatives that we launched to benefit you, our neighbours, even before we formally took up residence in Ekurhuleni.

There are many elements to our skills development and socio-economic development initiatives, and to cite a few examples:

  • Our maths and science initiative provides support to both learners and teachers to instil passion and confidence in learning and applying these subjects. One element of the programme is run at three TVET campuses and supported 100 learners and seven teachers in 2017.

    A second element are the Saturday classes provided on a yearly basis to 450 grade 10, 11 and 12 students from 17 schools in Ekurhuleni.

    Both elements are run in conjunction with the Maths Centre.

You may ask why we are paying so much emphasis on Mathematics and Science.

These subjects are the foundation of careers that we, as Gibela, offer in artisan trades:

  • As a company operating in the manufacturing sector, Gibela knows that, for industrial jobs in particular, young adults must develop commercially viable skills. We therefore provide learnerships and apprenticeships to young people who are interested in becoming artisans.
  • We look at education holistically, which is why we have forged a partnership with ASHA to deliver early childhood development (ECD) and money management skills to practitioners in Ekurhuleni and Mamelodi. The C.A.R.E programme equips ECD practitioners with basic knowledge and understanding of the early childhood education framework in South Africa. Ultimately, this intervention assists in the registration of early childhood development centres which enable them to access government recognition and grants.

We are very proud to support these and other initiatives in the area of education to promote the development and marketability of South Africa’s youth as well as to provide access to job opportunities within our company and beyond.

Ours is a young company driven by the belief that economic development, a key area in our operations, is a strategic business imperative.

We want our neighbouring communities to thrive and to grow and to be better off because we are here with them. We know that our contribution may not ultimately benefit everyone but are hopeful that its impact will be significant enough to create ripples that will benefit many.

We look forward to engaging with our local stakeholders on the platforms currently in place under the leadership of Doctor Xhakaza to Make a Difference together; to ensure that we are aligned in our endeavours.

We are committed to continuing the initiatives currently in place and to institute more.