PRASA reaches milestone with production of 200 trains

The Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (PRASA) has achieved a significant train production milestone with the 200 modern high-tech Electric Multiple Units (EMUs) manufactured in Gauteng.

‘The first train set hit our railway tracks in February 2017. Today, we celebrate this progress made towards the overarching goal of 600 trains. With these new trains, we are contributing towards the reduction of carbon emissions and the promotion of sustainable transportation alternatives,’ Minister of Transport Sindisiwe Chikunga said on Tuesday in Cape Town.

These efforts are part of PRASA’s Rolling Stock Fleet Renewal Programme which will, among other things, see the manufacturing of new trains. The programme is expected to create approximately 1 500 direct and 8000 indirect jobs over the 10-year period.

‘As part of the first phase of the programme, 1 631 direct jobs have been created during the construction phase of the R1 billion factory, and Gibela has now employed over 1 198 full time employees.

‘As this govern
ment we understand the need to create jobs that will benefit local communities. The workforce comes from local communities such as Duduza, Vosloorus, Katlehong, Kwa-Thema, Tsakane and Alfra-Park have benefitted from this project,’ the Minister said.

In addition to the construction jobs, Gibela has employed a total of 1 205 people for both manufacturing and maintenance activities, 37% of those 1 205 come from immediate communities.

‘Skills development and knowledge transfer is key for this government. About 20 000 training programmes have been established to enable the transfer of skills and development of employees from top management to unskilled employees.

‘In 2019 Gibela Rail in partnership with Small Enterprise Development Agency and City of Ekurhuleni established a multi-sector business incubator, the doors opened in 2020 in the Kwa-Thema Township,’ she said.

To date there are 140 Small Medium and Micro Enterprises (SMMEs) that were trained, mentored and coached. A total of 193 SMMEs also accessed Bu
siness Development Support.

‘Gibela provides bursaries for universities and Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) colleges, internships, learnerships, apprenticeships, a railway introduction course and other relevant programmes.

‘Through these interventions, we are helping to nurture the next generation of skilled and capable individuals who will not only improve their own futures, but also the futures of their families, communities, and our larger society.

‘Since the inception of the programme, we have contracted 1 665 bursars and spent over R127 million towards their studies,’ Chikunga said.

Not only is government revitalising the railway and manufacturing industry through skills development that will reignite the industry at large, PRASA is also changing the lives of the previously disadvantaged people and the livelihoods of communities.

‘Our young people are now trained as artisans, engineering technicians, technologists and designers, just to name a few. The investment made includes
R135 million invested in Enterprise and Supplier Development initiatives, developing SMMEs.

‘A total of R743 million has been invested in skills development to support inclusion in the rail sector. Over this 10-year period, Gibela has committed to train and develop 19 500 individuals in various skills such as engineers, artisans, technicians, and technologists.

‘These were the contractual obligations that Gibela had to undertake as part of this 10-year project,’ the Minister said.

Source: South African Government News Agency