Cape Town gets first glimpse of Gibela’s new trains

PRASA showcases new South African-built commuter trains in the Mother City

9 April 2019, Cape Town. Gibela’s new South African-built trains were introduced to the people of Cape Town at an event held by PRASA earlier today. Two trains were unveiled by President Cyril Ramaphosa, who is already well acquainted with the train-building project – Ramaphosa inaugurated Gibela’s factory in October 2018.

“This programme aims to revitalise the rail industry through local manufacturing of parts, maintenance, the establishment of training facilities, the achievement of 65 percent local content, and training and skills development for PRASA employees and young people interested in the rail industry,” said Ramaphosa.

A total of 580 are being built by Gibela for PRASA in South Africa. The first 18, currently operating in Pretoria, were manufactured at Alstom’s Lapa factory in Brazil.

Gibela’s new, world-class train manufacturing facility at Dunnottar in Ekurhuleni, has started the production of the South African trains – by South Africans. The first three locally-built trains were delivered to PRASA between December 2018 and March 2019.

The manufacturing facility has the capacity to produce 62 six-car trains a year at peak production, one of the fastest production rates in the world. Innovative technology and processes are used throughout the production process.

The project will boost the country’s economy as it creates jobs, develops new skills, prioritises local economic development and local content and promotes black economic empowerment.

Gibela currently employs more than 800 people – 46% women and 94% black South Africans. Its training and development initiatives are impressive, with hundreds of employees having received specialised training overseas, and many more undergoing local training and part of skills transfer programmes with industry experts.

A bursary programme will benefit 2 800 young people over 10 years, with scores already awarded, and community skills development programmes are under way to build South Africa’s future rail industry professionals.

In line with Gibela’s unwavering local content commitments, local suppliers will gain manufacturing expertise which will enable them to compete in global markets, opening up real potential for significant exports and foreign exchange earnings for South Africa.

Gibela’s CEO, Thierry Darthout says: “It’s our honour to be part of the train unveiling in Cape Town today – but it’s about so much more than just showcasing our new trains, it’s about being part of a project that is revitalising rail transport for South Africans. And in doing so, I might add, Gibela is contributing to the economic development of South Africa. We believe the future is rail,”

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Pamella Radebe
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