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Gi­bela is the em­pow­er­ment con­sor­tium cre­ated through a part­ner­ship be­tween the Pas­sen­ger Rail Agency of SA (Prasa) and French multi­na­tional Al­stom. Prasa has awarded Gi­bela con­tracts worth R51 bil­lion to build a fleet of 600 Al­stom trains over 10 years start­ing from 2017.

In terms of the project, the first 20 trains will be built in Brazil, with the re­main­der be­ing built at a pur­pose-built man­u­fac­tur­ing plant in Dun­not­tar, east of Jo­han­nes­burg.

As the projects de­velop, so will the skills of young South African en­gi­neers be­cause the project seeks to de­velop the in­dus­trial ca­pac­ity of the coun­try. Var­i­ous train­ing ini­tia­tives will see young South Africans be­ing equipped with skills in var­i­ous in­dus­tries and ca­pac­i­ties. The first of th­ese are the 12 young en­gi­neers who are un­der­go­ing train­ing in France un­der Al­stom’s 18-month men­tor­ship pro­gramme.

The multi­bil­lion-rand project in­cludes:

The de­liv­ery of 600 state-of-the-art pas­sen­ger trains (3 600 coaches) over 10 years.

On­go­ing main­te­nance, spares sup­ply and tech­ni­cal support over 19 years.

The con­struc­tion of a world-class man­u­fac­tur­ing and train­ing fa­cil­ity in Dun­not­tar.

Ac­cord­ing to Gi­bela CEO Marc Granger, the project is meant to de­liver mod­ern trains, de­velop an ef­fi­cient lo­cal in­dus­trial plant, and support South Africa’s eco­nomic and so­cial de­vel­op­ment.

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