What the socio-economic development plan is all about
The Gibela contract represents a partnership between Gibela and the communities in the areas near the factory in Dunnotar. The long-term success of the project is intrinsically linked to the vitality of these communities, and the suppliers in the communities that should benefit directly and indirectly due to their proximity to the factory.
In addition to helping to address short-term needs, Gibela seeks to align its socio-economic development initiatives with its core business and will leverage its human and technical resources wherever possible, with the idea that the communities should benefit not solely from financial investment, but from the intrinsic value of having a significant manufacturing asset in its midst.
Leruwo agricultural project trains farmers and small businesses
Towards the end of 2017, Gibela established the Leruwo Agricultural Project, a sustainable socio-economic development agriculture programme that aims to uplift underprivileged South Africans. We have partnered with funders that provide financial support for the project, as well as with local municipalities that have given access to suitable agricultural land.
The aim of the project is to implement agricultural projects around the country. Since Ekurhuleni is Gibela’s primary focus, work has begun there. The Western Cape, Eastern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal have also been identified as potential provinces for the programme to be introduced.
The programme will take place over a period of 10 years. Within this time, those involved will be trained and mentored to become smallholder farmers and support businesses. They will be given ongoing support and access to markets to ensure that they become successful and sustainable.
Over R14-million has been invested into the agricultural project, creating 25 permanent and 71 seasonal jobs within the community.
Maths and science
Education: the foundation for a better life
Gibela officially launched its education programme in Duduza in October 2016 to provide school-going learners with much-needed support in Maths, Science and English. These disciplines are important not only for South Africa’s rail sector, but for many other industries as well.
A budget has been set aside to help provide resources such as internet access, laptops and salaries for the trainers, uniforms for learners, and other necessities.
The programme currently has three hubs in KwaThema, Duduza and Nigel, and caters for learners from Grades 10 to 12. There are various schools from Gauteng participating in the programme, and qualified teachers have stepped in as trainers.
Speaking at the launch, Gibela’s Economic Development Director, Dr Buyiswa Mncono-Liwani, said to the children: “You need to grab opportunities with both hands. Investing in education at any level sets the foundation for achieving great things.”
At a “maps and mirrors” session, learners spent time with Gibela employees to find out about the different careers they can branch into within the rail industry.
Department of Education representative Pravin Chetty asked learners to pledge to be the best learners at their schools by making the most of Gibela’s support. He also thanked Gibela for its involvement in the much-needed development of the Nigel/Springs area.