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Prasa Celebrates Production of 200 Modern Trains

by Central News Reporter
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PRASA

The Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (PRASA) has proudly announced the production of 200 cutting-edge Electric Multiple Units (EMUs) in Gauteng. This milestone is a significant step towards PRASA’s ambitious goal of adding 600 modern trains to its fleet as part of its Rolling Stock Fleet Renewal Programme.

Minister of Transport Sindisiwe Chikunga, speaking at an event in Cape Town, highlighted the broader benefits of this initiative. “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 Chikunga explained.

This programme is not just about adding new trains to the fleet; it’s also a significant job creation engine. Approximately 1,500 direct and 8,000 indirect jobs are expected to be created over the 10-year period of the programme. During the first phase, over 1,631 direct jobs were generated in the construction of the R1 billion factory that manufactures these modern trains.

Highlighting the local impact of the programme, Minister Chikunga noted, “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. The workforce comes from local communities such as Duduza, Vosloorus, Katlehong, Kwa-Thema, Tsakane and Alfra-Park have benefitted from this project.”

Furthermore, in terms of permanent jobs, Gibela—the company contracted for manufacturing and maintenance—now employs 1,205 individuals, with a notable 37% sourced from the immediate surrounding communities.

Government efforts extend beyond job creation. “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,” Minister Chikunga added. In partnership with the Small Enterprise Development Agency and the City of Ekurhuleni, a multi-sector business incubator was opened in Kwa-Thema Township in 2020, aiding in the mentoring and coaching of 140 Small Medium and Micro Enterprises (SMMEs).

The Minister also touched on the support provided to nurture future talents through educational interventions. “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. Since the inception of the programme, we have contracted 1,665 bursars and spent over R127 million towards their studies,” she stated.

Emphasising the transformative impact of these initiatives, Minister Chikunga remarked on the revitalisation of both the railway and the manufacturing industry, thereby uplifting previously disadvantaged communities and significantly improving livelihoods.

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