Economic Development

RAC 3216

Economic Development policy

Gibela is committed to increasing the use of locally manufactured goods and domestically supplied services for this project and aims to reach up to 70% local content. The company also facilitates the development of local rail-related skills and the transfer of technical know-how to staff.

Our commitment

Socio-Economic development is an integral driver of socio-economic transformation in South Africa. The successful execution of this aspect of the PRASA mandate is critical. Gibela has aligned its strategy with the national development agenda and is working towards meeting the relevant objectives of the government’s 2030 National Development Plan.

Gibela has committed its resources, within reasonable means, to accomplish the goals set out in its economic development policy, which is outlined in the manufacturing and supply agreement with PRASA.

Gibela’s contribution to large-scale economic development and social progress through its greenfield infrastructure development programme and advanced rail technologies is underpinned by the company’s economic development policy.

Download Gibela’s Socio-Economic Development Strategy document below.

Our approach

Gibela aims to achieve its objectives by employing local job-seekers, developing a robust local supply chain and enhancing the living conditions of the people residing near its physical operations through community initiatives focused on developing and transferring skills and know-how.

Gibela’s economic development policy comprises four main elements:


To resuscitate local manufacturing industries through the implementation of a comprehensive localisation plan.

Enterprise development

To create sustainable enterprises in the rail sector, which achieve growth and create jobs.

Skills development

To develop rail-related skills and build the capacity of employees at corporate level, and throughout the supply chain, in line with South Africa's initiatives for economic advancement.

Job creation and capacity building

To unlock the community’s economic potential by enhancing people’s skills, knowledge and experience through capacity-building programmes.


Gibela’s leadership is accountable for the successful implementation of the economic development policy and any associated practices. The management committee reports to the board on progress made in all areas of economic development.

Skills development

Building skills, improving futures

We believe we have a responsibility to empower South Africa’s youth through education and skills development.

Over a 10-year period, we have committed to training and developing 19 000 young people through bursaries at universities and public Technical and Vocational Education and Training) (TVET) Colleges; learnerships and apprenticeships; internships and short learning programmes; a railway introductory course and technical skills programme; as well as work readiness and entrepreneurship initiatives. These will help close the skills gap in engineering by producing artisans, technicians, technologists and other much-needed skilled workers in the rail sector.

In order to deliver on our commitment, we have built a world-class training centre and also partnered with local training centres, TVET Colleges, universities, Sector Education and Training Authorities (Setas) and other centres of excellence.

Together with these organisations, we are helping to nurture the next generation of skilled and capable employees who will not only improve their own futures, but also the futures of their families, communities and broader society.

Community skills development

Looking after our communities

At Gibela, we measure our success by the success of our communities. We believe it is our responsibility to help our communities develop and grow, and we work closely with them to learn what initiatives would help them the most.

Over the past several years, we have focused our attention on early childhood development, since nurturing happy and healthy children is the start of creating strong communities and a productive society.

We have also worked closely with schools to make them friendly and supportive learning environments. Over the years, an agricultural programme has developed, which sees us taking our skills and resources beyond the rail industry. We constantly develop new programmes as the need arises.

Enterprise development

Gibela fully supports PRASA’s enterprise development objectives for the growth and transformation of the South African economy. Enterprise development initiatives are aimed at assisting and accelerating the development and sustainability of other enterprises and their financial and operational independence.

Gibela has committed to spending 1.2% of the contract value on enterprise development. This commitment is aligned to our preferential procurement plan to develop small black-owned businesses, and particularly businesses owned by black women.

Gibela’s enterprise development objectives are to:

  • Identify existing black-owned businesses and black women entrepreneurs in the communities around the factory

  • Invest in black entrepreneurs to increase their operational and financial capacity

  • Increase the number of black-owned small and medium enterprises and qualifying small enterprises that are equipped and qualified to supply the rail industry

  • Establish a programme to increase access to local and international markets for black-owned businesses

  • Assist with the transfer of skills and technology to black-owned entrepreneurs operating in the rail sector

  • Develop small enterprises in the rail industry

  • Foster an entrepreneurial culture in black communities through the creation of economic opportunities across key sectors identified in the Gauteng provincial growth and development strategy and strategic infrastructure projects

  • Build a relationship between the public and private sector that will embrace social investment as a common vision

Business incubation programme

Gibela's business incubation programme is in partnership with SEDA and the Ekurhuleni municipality.

Socio-Economic Development

What the socio-economic development plan is all about

The Gibela contract represents a partnership between Gibela and the communities in the areas near the factory in Dunnotar. The long-term success of the project is intrinsically linked to the vitality of these communities, and the suppliers in the communities that should benefit directly and indirectly due to their proximity to the factory.

In addition to helping to address short-term needs, Gibela seeks to align its socio-economic development initiatives with its core business and will leverage its human and technical resources wherever possible, with the idea that the communities should benefit not solely from financial investment, but from the intrinsic value of having a significant manufacturing asset in its midst.

Early childhood development

Gibela invests in early childhood development

Gibela has partnered with The Early Care Foundation, previously known as the ASHA Trust, to bring early childhood development (ECD) and money-management skills to those who work with children in Ekurhuleni and Mamelodi. The two programmes sponsored by Gibela are the C.A.R.E Skills Development Programme and the Money Management Skills Programme.

The C.A.R.E programme provides early childhood development practitioners with basic knowledge and understanding of the early childhood education framework in South Africa. The practitioners are introduced to the Child Care Act, how pre-schools should be managed and what the government’s legal framework involves.

The money-management programme is designed to train practitioners to manage their ECD centres as small businesses. It focuses on basic business skills, management, governance, and the formal registration of ECD centres as small enterprises. This programme is aimed at providing jobs and an income to the owners and practitioners of these centres, as well as other employees as the centres grow.

“Gibela is proud to contribute to the improvement of education in all spheres – be it pre-school, higher learning or postgraduate programmes – as long as children benefit,” says Dr Buyiswa Mncono-Liwani, Gibela’s economic development director.

In November 2019, 110 ECD practitioners received their certificates following the completion of their training by The Early Care Foundation. The graduates came from 60 ECD centres representing Gibela’s neighbouring communities: Duduza, Tsakane, KwaThema, as well as Mamelodi, which is in the precinct of our Technical Support and Spares Supply Agreement activities.

These ECD centres are registered and recognised as non-profit organisations by the Department of Social Development. This means they are eligible to access government funding, should they be registered as places of care by the Department of Social Development. To date, 152 ECD practitioners have graduated under this programme.

Gibela Bursaries

This year, Gibela has bursaries available for South African university students and for those studying at technical and vocational education and training (TVET) colleges. The bursary is granted for one year, renewable on an annual basis, and is awarded based on academic performance. Current first- and second-year candidates are encouraged to apply.