About Us

RAC 3128

Who we are

Overview of Gibela

In just a few years, Gibela has progressed from signatures on a contract to becoming an engine for the replacement of South Africa’s ageing fleet of commuter trains and the bedrock for the re-establishment of the country’s rail-manufacturing industry.

About the company

Formed in 2013 as a black economic empowerment company, the Gibela Rail Transport Consortium comprises of French rail company Alstom and South Africa’s Ubumbano Rail.

Gibela’s R51-billion contract with the South African government to manufacture 600 trains for the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (PRASA). The scope of the contract includes train maintenance, technical support and the manufacture and supply of spare parts.

Today, state-of-the-art X’trapolis MEGA commuter trains are rolling off the production line at Gibela’s bespoke R1-billion factory in South Africa’s Ekurhuleni metropolis.

In fulfilment of contractual obligations to PRASA, Gibela is training thousands of historically disadvantaged South Africans, mainly women – in technical skills for both Gibela and the manufacturing industry at large. Gibela continuously draws scores of South African companies, many of them black-owned start-ups, into its supply chain and works to improve the lives of people in its neighbouring communities.

Gibela will generate 1 500 direct jobs at peak of the project and thousands of indirect jobs through the supply chain over a 10-year period.

Our Vision and Values


Our vision is to lead the revitalisation of the South African railway sector and become a catalyst in PRASA’s endeavours to elevate commuter rail as a transport mode of choice for all people in urban areas.


Our values guide our everyday behaviour and every choice we make in the process of achieving our objectives. These values are critical to Gibela’s success. They define the way we work and operate as a company.

Trust and respect

Trust and respect at Gibela are achieved through individual and collective accountability.

Teamwork and partnership

We embrace diversity and demonstrate unwavering integrity as “one team”.

Focus and drive

Through sound leadership and proactive actions, we are driven by clear priorities and speed of execution.

Influencing the future

We are effecting sustainable change in the railways landscape.

Values are important to our success

Our values are a constant reminder of how we achieve our objectives. Our objectives are clearly defined and the reason we exist. At Gibela, we know that values won’t help us achieve anything if they have no personal meaning to us. To this end, we have appointed “values champions” to support our employees with any questions around our values.

Shareholding structure

Gibela’s ownership structure complies with South Africa’s black economic empowerment legislation.

French-based majority shareholder Alstom is a world leader in integrated transport systems, active in more than 60 countries and employing about 70 000 people. With a presence in South Africa for more than a century, Alstom is well placed to power technology and skills transfer to Gibela.

Ubumbano Rail is a black-owned consortium comprising three commercial entities – Khipunyawo Rail, the Elgin-Identity Rail Corporation and Community Rail – the PRASA Employee Share Option Trust (ESOP) and the Gibela ESOP and an education trust. Khipunyawo has been active in the rail sector for more than a decade, Elgin-Identity Rail Corporation has heavy-fabrication capabilities and wheel-refurbishment accreditation, while Community Rail is a new entrant to the rail sector.

Our people

Gibela is passionate about human capital and is heavily invested in skills development and technology transfer in the building of trains for the modern era. We provide an employee-based value proposition that enables our staff to advance their technical skills in world-class train design and manufacturing.

We also equip our employees with the requisite manufacturing support service skills to enable them to flourish in their careers. Gibela has a staff complement that is 46% female and 54% male, with 81% youth and 94% black employees.

Board of Directors

Irene Charnley

Non-executive director
Certificate in Management Advanced Programme, Industrial Relations, Wits Business School; Diploma in Graphic Art, Reproduction and Technology, London College of PrintingRead more

Andrew DeLeone

Non-executive director
Master’s degree in industrial relations from Cornell University, New YorkRead more

Sonja De Bruyn

Non-executive director
LLB Hons, London School of Economics; MA Business and Economic Policy, McGill University, Montreal; Securities and Funding Authority (UK); Executive Programme (Harvard Kennedy School)Read more

Bernard Peille

Non-executive director
Master’s degree from the Industrial Management School in Arras, FranceRead more

Mokganyetsi Violet Sithole

Non-executive director
MPhil, Stellenbosch UniversityRead more

Tristan le Masne de Chermont

Non-executive director
Master’s: Management, ESCP Business School, Paris, FranceRead more
Irene Charnley

Irene is currently the deputy chairperson of Smile Telecoms Holdings. She was, for 12 years, CEO of the same company, formerly known as Smile Telecoms Group.

She sits on several boards, including Smile Telecoms Holdings and all its subsidiary company boards – Smile Communications Tanzania, Smile Communications Democratic Republic of Congo, Smile Communications Uganda, Smile Communications Nigeria and Smile Communications PTY (a South Africa-based company); MTN Group; MCell; South African Broadcasting Corporation.

She is also the non-executive director for Metropolitan; South African Breweries; Premier Group LTD; Times Media Limited; MNet; MultiChoice; First National Bank.

Andrew DeLeone

President, Africa, Middle East & Central Asia (AMECA) region at Alstom

Before joining Alstom, Andrew was president for the Europe, Middle East, Africa and India region at Bombardier Transportation. His regional responsibilities included customer-relationship management, sales, services and project management for Europe (Switzerland, Italy, Iberia and Nordic countries), Middle East, Africa and India.

Andrew studied economics at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School and holds a master’s degree in industrial relations from Cornell University, New York. He has extensive experience in expanding profitable service businesses. Furthermore, he has led large-scale transformations, optimising organisational structures and strengthening employee engagement and accountability.

Sonja De Bruyn

With extensive experience in finance, business and empowerment of women in South Africa. Sonja is the co-founder and principal shareholder of Identity Partners, an investor in established and growing businesses, advisor to government and corporate clients, with a dedicated fund to finance black youth and women entrepreneurs.

She currently sits on the boards of RMBH and RMI, Discovery Group, Remgro, Mr Price Group and the National Empowerment Fund. She has received recognition from the Association of Black Securities and Investment Professionals, the Black Management Forum and the World Economic Forum as a young global leader.

Bernard Peille

Managing director, Southern Africa cluster, MEA-GENL MNG-ASAH

Before moving to Alstom Ubunye, Bernard joined Gibela’s executive committee as a rolling-stock operations director in 2019, responsible for industrial operations and the growth of Dunnottar’s plant capacity for effective and efficient rolling-stock operations.

Bernard holds a master’s degree from the Industrial Management School in Arras, France. His career at Alstom spans 30 years and includes various executive positions in the United States, South Korea, China, Russia and France. He was previously Alstom’s managing director for the Western and Central Asia cluster, based in Astana, Kazakhstan. He successfully steered industrial sites such as Reichshoffen and La Rochelle, designing and manufacturing regional trains, tramways and very high-speed trains.

Mokganyetsi Violet Sithole

Mokganyetsi is the founding director of specialist monitoring and evaluation consultancy firm, Uweso Consulting, and Genorah Resources, an emerging black mining company that was previously the majority shareholder in Australian Stock Exchange-listed Nkwe Platinum.

She has more than 30 years of experience in education management, e-learning, strategic planning, as well as stakeholder and human resource management. She is also a member of the Institute of Directors in Southern Africa. Mokganyetsi has served on the boards of the Matthew Goniwe School of Leadership and Governance and the Gauteng Institute of Education Development and Management.

Tristan le Masne de Chermont

Tristan joined Alstom as assistant to the senior auditor in 2004. He served as vice president: internal audit and internal control for three years before becoming vice president: finance, Middle East and Africa in 2019. During the audit and control tenure, Alstom’s Dow Jones Sustainability Index score soared to 86/100 on risk and crisis management (versus a peer average of 56/100).

Executive Committee

Reggie Boqo (CA)(SA)

Chief Financial Officer & Acting Chief Executive Officer
BCom, North West University; BCompt Honours, University of South AfricaRead more

Buyiswa Mncono-Liwani (Dr)

Corporate Service & Traction Motors Operations Executive
DPhil (Technology and Innovation Management), Da Vinci InstituteRead more

Thabiso Komako

Rolling Stock Operations Executive
N Dip: Industrial Engineering (TUT), BTech: Quality Management (Unisa), BSc Hon: Industrial Systems Engineering (UP), Management Advancement Program (Wits), Advanced Project Management (UCT)Read more

Vuyiswa Tlomatsane

Maintenance Services Executive
B Tech (Civil Engineering), Cape Peninsula University of TechnologyRead more

Convey Meintjies

Legal Services & Company Secretary
Bachelor of Law (LLB), University of KwaZulu-NatalRead more

Colette Yende

Procurement Operations Executive
Executive Development Programme, GIBS Business School; B Tech (Quality Management), University of JohannesburgRead more

Soraya McCann

Project Executive
BSc(QS), University of the WitwatersrandRead more

Esther Matlala

Human Resource Executive
MBL (UNISA School of Business Leadership), Post Dip. Management (UCT), BA and BSocSc, Hum (UCT)Read more
Reggie Boqo (CA)(SA)

Previously group chief financial officer of the City of Johannesburg, Reggie joined Gibela as chief financial officer in June 2018 with experience in finance that spans over 20 years. Reggie has held various positions, including group financial director at a financial services company. He has served in executive roles and at board level in both the public and private sectors.

Buyiswa Mncono-Liwani (Dr)

Dr Buyiswa Mncono-Liwani is a seasoned Executive with more than 20 years management experience in all aspects of economic development and stakeholder management which includes localisation, government relations and advocacy, enterprise development and social investment in different industries. She has occupied senior positions in multinational companies such a Sasol Mining, Sasol Oil and Shell SA.

In December 2013 she joined Gibela as the Economic Development Executive who is responsible for directing all aspects of Economic Development Programme such as local content, rail-related skills development and Broad-Based Economic Development. In Jan 2021 she was appointed as the Corporate Services and Traction Motors Operations Executive. Her scope was increased to include Communications and Traction Motors Operations, she oversees the day-to-day operation of the tractions motors manufacturing business.

Dr. Buyiswa Mncono-Liwani holds a Doctor of Philosophy in the Management of Technology and Innovation from Da Vinci Institute, Modderfontein, SA

Thabiso Komako

Thabiso is an Industrial Engineer and a member of the South African Institute for Industrial Engineering with extensive rail engineering and managerial experience. With 18 years of his rail projects career, he acquired extensive expertise in industrial quality, supplier quality, quality management systems, lean manufacturing, project quality management, product safety assurance, process & quality engineering , project management, manufacturing and operations management. Having worked for Transnet Engineering (Rolling stock, wagons and rotating machines), Bombardier Transportation (Gautrain rolling stock and infrastructure maintenance project) and Gibela (rolling stock manufacturing project) he grew as a professional both technically and from a leadership perspective. Thabiso started his tenure at Gibela in 2013 where he has held roles where he was entrusted to lead and contribute on key project milestones such as supplier development, industrialization, transfer of technology, project management and operations management. Prior to him occupying his current role, he served as Head of Rolling Stock Manufacturing where he was very instrumental in leading Gibela to ramp up production throughput from one to six trains a month. He is a passionate, charismatic and influential leader who strongly believes in people development, empowerment, critical thinking and leading team members with integrity.

Vuyiswa Tlomatsane

Vuyiswa comes with more than 20 years’ experience in civil engineering. She started her career as a traffic engineer at BKS (Pty) Ltd currently trading as AECOM. She was responsible for transport modelling and simulation, road and bridge design and traffic impact assessments for private commercial developments. She later moved to transport infrastructure projects, leading commuter rail transport planning, road-based mass transit systems planning and implementation.

Tlomatsane has a track record in project and construction management of high-profile projects, including the Department of Transport, City of Johannesburg and the Johannesburg Development Agency. She joined Gibela as a construction director in April 2016 and managed the construction of Gibela’s new train manufacturing plant. She won the Women in Transport Award at 11th Transport Africa Awards, 2018 in recognition for the Gibela train manufacturing plant. In July 2018, she joined Gibela’s executive committee, becoming the organisation’s service operations director responsible for management of all contractual obligations pertaining to Technical Support, Spares Supply Agreement (TSSSA). She is responsible for all activities relating to industrial engineering, maintenance engineering, supply chain, depots operations, quality, EHS, components repairs and overhauls, finance and project management.

 She has successfully mobilised commercial service operations in Western Cape & KwaZulu-Natal by deploying rolling stock, supporting the Customer with depot mobilisation, resource allocation and start of commercial service. She also initiated the establishment of rolling stock components service centre which is currently based in Midrand. In this facility Gibela will repair and overhaul train components linked to the defined maintenance regime.

Convey Meintjies

Convey is an admitted attorney of the Republic of South Africa, a member of the Corporate Counsel Association of South Africa and registered with the Southern African Institute of Chartered Secretaries and Administrators.

He started his career in corporate and property law, then moved into advisory positions, drafting legislation for the government, and also enjoyed a corporate career with an American manufacturing firm as a senior legal and contracts counsel and company secretary. He serviced developing and emerging markets before joining Gibela’s executive committee in September 2017.

Colette Yende

Colette is an accomplished procurement operations executive, with a focused orientation towards innovation and transformation. She specialises in the provision of strategic direction for supply chain management, sourcing and procurement, category management and contracts management, as well as both internal and external relationship management (partners and suppliers).

With experience spanning more than two decades in a variety of industries, Colette has worked for Barloworld Equipment, Transnet Engineering, Total SA and Eskom.

These roles have enabled Colette to find her passion and “calling”. As a fair and firm leader, she holds strong beliefs in ongoing learning and teaching, within the team and as an individual. Working hand in hand with a network of stakeholders to build and share her extensive knowledge base, she is known across Gibela for going the extra mile to confront and resolve diverse business and industry-related challenges.

Soraya McCann

Soraya is a qualified and registered Professional Quantity Surveyor with more than 30 years’ experience on Mining and Engineering Projects, within South Africa as well as abroad. Her experience allowed her the capability to provide and support the project team and the customer / client with sound commercial and contractual management, advice and negotiation strategies, dispute and claims mitigation & resolution, and compilation of procurement policies & procedures. Based on her training and experience imparted over the years, she has successfully managed and grown business units based on sound business and corporate governance, including HR management and financial accountability.

Esther Matlala

Esther Matlala has over twenty-three (23) years of generalist Human Capital experience. Thirteen (13) years in senior management roles and more than twelve years (12) in Human Capital executive roles, leading functional teams and driving the people agenda. She is very knowledgeable in Business re-organization, Project management, Governance and Compliance, Talent Management, Learning and Development, Compensation & Benefits, and Employee Relations.

She holds a Master in Business Leadership (MBL) degree from the UNISA School of Business Leadership, a Postgraduate Diploma in Management from the University of Cape Town, and a Bachelor of Social Sciences and Humanities obtained from the University of Cape Town.

Esther’s leadership role involves the following:

• Lead, direct, develop, plan, and control the overall human resources strategies and policies for the division.

• Strategic Management: design the Human Resources strategy aligned to the business strategic imperatives

• Business Re-organisation: Lead the business re-engineering project and manage the organizational design project to achieve optimal workforce levels aligned with turn-around strategies.

• Talent Management: ensure that talent management interventions are integrated and interlinked with total rewards.

• Learning and Development: re-direct learning interventions to ensure alignment with strategic pillars and talent.

• Change Management: drive the change platform (s) in ensuring that interventions and processes are interlinked to achieve synergies across the various operations.

• Governance and Compliance: design of policies to ensure compliance with legislation.

• Employee Relations: Ensure uniformity in the application of procedures across operations.

• Lead Human Capital operations teams across the entire functional value chain.

Ethics and compliance

Gibela is committed to the highest standards of ethical business practices and we believe in an environment of open and honest dialogue that encourages employees to approach their manager or supervisor should they suspect violations of company standards and policies.