Black empowered, conscious of its role as a catalyst for economic development and technologically robust through its global references – thanks to its majority shareholder, Alstom – Gibela will deliver sleek and innovative rolling stock that is ideally suited to the needs of new generations of rail commuters. While the nostalgia for steam harks back to a bygone era and the early days of rail travel, South Africa is moving forward with a rail technology solution that will change the face of rail transport forever.
Gibela, derived from the Nguni word which means 'go aboard', was formed as a consortium to replace South Africa's outdated rolling stock and will deliver 600 passenger trains into the South African rail network over the next 10 years. In a seminal contract signed in 2013, the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (PRASA), which holds responsibility for rail transport in metropolitan areas, assigned Gibela, a fully operational company, the mammoth task to replace its ageing equipment with a modern service that will offer maximum transportation value for passengers. PRASA, in commissioning the project, is executing its mandate in terms of the National Development Plan (NDP) for 2030 which aims to achieve prosperity and equity for all South Africans. This involves improving national infrastructure, including public transport, and boosting the economy to create jobs.
Gibela, headquartered in Johannesburg, will establish a manufacturing and training facility in Ekurhuleni, Gauteng. Through the rolling stock project, Gibela will generate 1,500 direct jobs and thousands of indirect jobs through the supply chain over a ten-year period. Thousands of people – engineers, artisans, technicians, train drivers and technologists – will benefit from training and upskilling.