PRASA Chief Executive Lucky Montana and Transport Minister Dikobe Ben Martins at the officia awarding of the pasenger rail by Simphiwe Mbokazi 453

Wiseman Khuzwayo

The first phase of the rolling stock fleet renewal programme worth R51 billion had been awarded to Gibela Rail Transport Consortium, the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (Prasa) said yesterday.

The announcement was made at a hurried press conference that was called two hours before the event.

The contract will run for 10 years. It is part of an investment by Prasa of R123bn over more than 20 years.

Gibela is led by Alstom, a French world leader in transport infrastructure and equipment, power generation and electrical grids, which has a presence in 100 countries.

Oddly, Gibela does not have a black empowerment partner yet. Lucky Montana, the chief executive of Prasa, said yesterday this was work in progress and was being done by Actom, a leading supplier of quality electrical products and the primary distribution arm for the Alstom South Africa group.

An announcement would be made in January.

Gibela beat six other bidders. These were CSR WICTRA, Bombadier Transportation (Rolling Stock) South Africa, Dudula Rail, China CNR Corporation, CSR EMU Supply, and Construcciones y Auxiliar de Ferrocarriles.

The contract is for the design, manufacture and supply of a new fleet of rolling stock for the commuter train parastatal. The request for proposals was launched in April.

Prasa said Gibela would offer the following:

n 3 600 coaches delivered over a 10-year period between 2015 and 2025;

n Maintenance, spares supply and technical support on vehicles over an 18-year period from 2015 to 2033;

n 8 088 direct jobs created;

n A 30 percent stake set aside for equity partners, plus additional broad-based black economic empowerment participation in the structure, with an effective 2.3 percent black shareholding through Actom;

n Spending of R797 million on skills development initiatives;

There will be preferential procurement of R32.8bn to be spent on sub-contracting to black empowered entities; R5.3bn to be spent on sub-contracting to qualifying small enterprises; and R1.6bn to be spent on sub-contracting to entities owned by black women.

Gibela will spend R746m on the development of enterprises in the rail sector and R273m on socioeconomic development contributions.

Local content will be 69 percent by year two, and Gibela will use Transnet Rail Engineering’s factory for production.

Prasa says its ageing fleet, combined with rapidly growing passenger needs, has led it to focus on up-scaling the rolling stock investment as part of a broader strategy to acquire modern technology to meet changing demands.

It has 4 630 coaches for Metrorail operations in Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal, the Western Cape and Eastern Cape. About 90 percent of the rolling stock dates back to the 1950s.

The last new trains, comprising only 2 percent of the commuter rail fleet, were bought in the mid-1980s.

The agency says that of the total number of coaches, 2 200 are older than 36 years and at this age it is not economical to upgrade the fleet within the parameters acceptable in the upgrades for the purpose of realising economic life extension.

Montana said the evaluation process of the bids had been thorough and competitive.

It was based on a combination of price and economic development scores, with a weighting of 85 percent for price and 15 percent for economic development, to achieve an overall score for each bid. There was no reserve bidder. Business Watch, page 2