04 July 2022


Today we celebrate a major milestone in the manufacture of the rail rolling stock as an integral part of our rail modernisation programme through the Rolling Stock Fleet Renewal Programme.


This milestone achievement takes place on the backdrop of the Gazetting of the White Paper on National Rail Policy, ushering in a new era for South Africa’s railwayindustry. We have no doubt that the White Paper creates policy certainty that introduces radical structural reforms, which enable broader participation and open new avenues for investment and competitiveness. The Rail Policy firmly locates rail manufacturing capability within the broader ambit of South Africa’s Industrialisation Policy.


This is the game changer that will give the necessary impetus to the realisation of the rail renaissance in our country, the region and the continent.


Our efforts to give practical expression to this renaissance are bolstered by the AU decision at its Assembly in January 2015 that South Africa must champion the manufacturing of rail rolling stock to support the deepened drive towards industrialisation in the continent.


The manufacturing being undertaken in this factory is an integral part of the massive investment the democratic government has made in revitalising rail through the Rolling Stock Fleet Renewal Programme to the tune of one hundred and twenty-three (R123bn) billion.

The procurement of new rolling stock is a critical component of PRASA’s mandate to provide for modernization and growth to achieve long-term safe, reliable, and affordable commuter and long distance passenger services.


Ladies and gentlemen, It is my singular honour to christen the one hundredth (100th) Stimela Sabantu train manufactured out of our state-of-the-art train manufacturing factory here in Ekurhuleni. This is a significant milestone which demonstrates tangible progress towards the realisation of our policy of positioning rail as the backbone of our public transport system.


It is equally demonstrating our capability and readiness to honour the AU decision to become a rail rolling stock manufacturing hub for the continent. More importantly, this is a practical demonstration of the progress we have made towards delivering a commuter rail system that is safe, efficient, affordable, reliable.


Safety issues associated with the old trains have been addressed with the design and operations of the trains. This will be reinforced by security interventions, station upgrades, fencing in of the rail reserve and overall
infrastructure upgrades.


It is important to note that the first 99 trains carried the Alstom badge. However, Stimela Sabantu number 100
and every other train coming out of this factory will carry the Gibela insignia.


We have made considerable progress towards achieving the objective to deliver three thousand six hundred (3 600) new coaches or six hundred (600) 6-car train sets through the Gibela contract.


Overall, the Fleet Renewal Programme is meant to deliver five thousand two hundred and fifty six (5,256) coaches to satisfy the existing rail passenger demand on the current network, with four hundred and fifty six (456) coaches to satisfy growth in rail passenger demand on the existing network.


We have no doubt that Rolling Stock Fleet Renewal Programme is the catalyst for the transformation of passenger rail and a practical instrument in positioning rail as the backbone of our public transport system.


While the urgent challenge is to recover and improve passenger rail services in the immediate term, the Fleet Renewal Programme has been designed to achieve a number of key government objectives.


These include delivery of quality services to citizens,revitalization of South Africa’s rail engineering industry through local manufacturing and maximising local content in line with the country’s Industrial Policy Action Plan, job creation, skills development as well as Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment.


Nine years ago, the first brick was laid on this 78-hectare site for the construction of Africa’s first train manufacturing facility. In 2018, the plant was officially opened, setting us on a path to become the rail rolling stock manufacturing hub for the continent as pronounced by the AU Heads of State Assembly in 2015.


The R59 billion contract signed with the Gibela Rail Consortium for the manufacturing of the 600 high-tech mega train sets over a 10-year period, makes the project the first of its kind on the continent. The first of the twenty electrical trains were built in Alstom’s facility in Brazil, while the remaining 580 trains will be built in South Africa. The first locally built train rolled out of this factory in 2018.


To date PRASA has spent approximately R24billion on the project and is anticipating total spend in excess of R100billion over the life of the Project. The manufacture and delivery of the new trains is supported by a Technical Support and Spares Supply
Agreement concluded between Gibela and PRASA. The scope of the contract includes train maintenance, technical support and the manufacture and supply ofspare parts. As part of this Agreement, Gibela will undertake with at least one overhaul on each new train.
The contract is for a period of 18 years.


These state-of-the-art X’trapolis mega trains have built-in safety features such as CCTV cameras, doors designed
to prevent the train from starting if doors are open or tampered with, and each train has carrying capacity of
one thousand two hundred (1200) passengers.


These trains are capable of achieving a top speed of 120km/h, and have all of the latest safety features, which include an anti-crash system to protect drivers and passengers. The trains are designed to accommodate South Africa’s narrow gauge trail tracks. The trains are 131 meters long and weigh 220 tonnes.


We continue to play our part in ensuring that the project delivers on its localization commitments. Currently, Gibela has 71 South African suppliers registered for the supply of various goods and services. This is a step in the right direction towards achieving the 65% target of local content. Gibela has introduced innovative intervention to maximise the use and development of small and large Black-owned as well as Black-women owned suppliers.


To date, this project has created two thousand six hundred and ninety five (2,695) direct jobs since 2014. A total of 8,209 jobs were created during the construction phase with1,631 of these being direct jobs, 2,810 indirect.


Skills development is an important national imperative the project has paid great attention to. To date, Gibela has
trained nine thousand and seventy seven (9,077) people across different categories.


An important element of our modernisation programme, which directly supports the manufacturing process is the
depot modernisation. These depots play a critical role in ensuring that all our depots are able to accommodate the
new trains both for storage and maintenance. Our depot modernisation programme has experienced delays over
the last few years. The trains that have yet to be deployed in our environment are currently stored at our Wolmerton
Depot in Tshwane.


PRASA had gone out on tender for the upgrades of its existing depots and construction of new ones.


The upgrade of the Wolmerton Depot is currently in the tender evaluation phase and the contract will be awarded
once the adjudication is completed.


Interim improvements have been made to the Paarden Eiland depot in Cape Town and the Springfield depot in eThekwini to accommodate the new trains.


In order to decongest these depots for the new trains, old trains and coaches will be moved to staging yards and
wrecks will be cleared and stored in alternate facilities.


Tendering for the Salt River, Springfield and Durban depots that were in the detailed design phase was
interdicted. PRASA is hard at work to resolve the matter and ensure that the tender process moves with speed and
construction begins.


The depot fencing and walling projects have commenced at 6 depots to improve security and the protection of
assets. We anticipate the depot modernisation programme will be finalised in the following time lines:


Benrose - 30 months from contract signing with the preferred service provider;
Wolmerton - 33 months from turnkey contractor appointment;
Braamfontein & Shosholoza Meyl depots - 48 months from contract signing with the preferred service provider;
Paadern Eiland - 12 months from contract signing with a turnkey contractor.


The People’s trains, Isitimela Sabantu, which have been manufactured to date have been deployed in the following


• Gauteng has 80 trains currently stored at the Wolmerton Depot. Those in active service are operational in the Mabopane to Pretoria and Saulsville to Pretoria corridors.


Western Cape has16 trains in active service. Thesetrains are operating in the Cape Town to Simonstown and Cape Town to Retreat, via Athlone corridors.


• KwaZulu-Natal has 9 trains but these are not in active service due to infrastructure challenges.


In conclusion, as the modernisation programme gains momentum, it will drive the transformation of the rail
sector and change the face of the industry in South Africa. This project is a catalyst to give practical expression to the
black industrialist programme and give meaningful expression to meaningful Broad-Based Black Economic


It is through this manufacturing project that we will build black industrialists with the necessary skills, knowledge and expertise to manufacture rail rolling stock for the country, the continent and the world.



Committed to delivering high quality passenger service on sustainable bases


+27 12 748 7000