Local youth are at the forefront of assembling, testing, commissioning
and delivering new and modern commuter trains for South Africa.
They are employed by Gibela at the first-of-its-kind R1 billion train manufacturing facility in Dunnottar in Ekurhuleni, about 50km east of Johannesburg.
It is at this new 72-hectare plant that they are building the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa’s (PRASA) rolling stock of modern commuter trains.
Gibela – a partnership between Alstom, a multinational world leader in integrated transport systems
and South Africa’s Ubumbano Rail and New Africa Rail – was launched in 2014 to deliver on two major contracts for PRASA.
These are to manufacture 580 state-ofthe-art X’Trapolis Mega commuter trains, over 10 years,
to replace the aged current fleet for Metrorail and to supply technical services and spares for the trains during their first 19 years in service.
The cutting-edge train production facility was recently unveiled by President Cyril Ramaphosa.
It is a critical hub for providing onsite maintenance and engineering services,
a training facility for railway-specific artisan skills and an engineering centre of excellence.
The construction of the factory commenced in January 2016 with manufacturing activities starting in 2017.
Employment opportunities According to Gibela, currently more than 400 people are directly employed in the factory
and it anticipates that the number will rise to more than 1 500 once the factory is in full production.
Of these, more than 200 are engineers and technicians – including 80 women who have been trained and deployed as full-time
Gibela employees; 50 skilled and semi-skilled artisans and technicians; and 65 apprentices, who began their apprenticeships at the new training centre since last year.
Youth such as Mapula Tsebela (25), a semi-skilled mechanical filter, is one of the previously unemployed who has benefited from the project.
Responsible for the internal installations like door trimmings, roof arcs and seats,
Tsebela from neighbouring Tsakane township, said the project has changed her life by giving her an opportunity to be employed full-time.
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