Huge interest in R51bn passenger train project from job seekers
- Author: Andile Ntingi
- Published: Tuesday, 14 March 2017 08:57
Thousands of job applicants have put up their hands to be part of the skilled workforce that will manufacture and maintain 600 new passenger trains that will replace the old, unreliable trains operated by the Passenger Rail Authority of South Africa (Prasa).
Gibela Rail Transport Consortium – which clinched the R51 billion contract to manufacture the 600 modern trains, consisting of 3,600 passenger coaches – confirmed this week that it had received thousands of applications after it launched an extensive recruitment drive last month to hire operators, artisans, and trainees.
Successful applicants will be stationed at a factory and training centre being constructed by Gibela in Dunnottar, east of Johannesburg, where the trains are going to be built.
Gibela currently employs more than 270 people and the company says its factory will employ 1,500 at full capacity. The company, which is 61% owned by French engineering firm Alstom, plans to recruit 18,000 trainees over the next 10 years.
In the first round of the recruitment campaign, Gibela will hire 145 full-time employees and 146 trainees.
Pamella Radebe, Gibela’s marketing and communications manager, told GetBiz that a second round of recruitment will take place in August this year.
“More recruitment will take place at a later stage of construction of the factory and once we start with the supply chain activities. In the meantime, we have already signed contracts with local suppliers for a wide range of components and raw materials (for manufacturing of trains) to be sourced from South Africa,” Radebe said.
“More recruitment will take place at a later stage of construction of the factory and once we start with the supply chain activities. In the meantime, we have already signed contracts with local suppliers for a wide range of components and raw materials (for manufacturing of trains) to be sourced from South Africa”
Radebe revealed that hundreds of local suppliers had been identified and the selection process was ongoing. She added that out of 97 Tier 1 suppliers to Gibela, 59 were South African companies that are already producing parts and equipment for the project.
The 59 Tier 1 suppliers represent a local spend of 88%, where they are supplying components and materials needed to build the trains and coaches, such as metalwork, seats, glazing, carpets, steel, ceilings, batteries, and lighting fixtures.
A Tier 1 company is the most important member of a supply chain, supplying components directly to the original equipment manufacturer (OEM) that set up the chain.
The recruitment process has not been without controversy. Residents of Duduza township, who live close to Gibela’s factory, accused the train manufacturer of not employing people from the community. The residents protested and barricaded roads with burning rubble and tyres to make their voices heard.
However, the standoff between the Duduza residents and Gibela is being resolved through the resumption of the Stakeholder Forum, which will keep the community abreast of project developments and ensure an equitable distribution of economic development opportunities in favour of local communities.