Gibela Research Chair

Pioneering Research in the Railcar Manufacturing Value Chain

History of the
Research Chair

The Gibela Research Chair was established in 2016. Prof Khumbulani Mpofu in 2015 attended the Gibela Supplier Meeting where he met Mr Marc Granger who was the CEO at the time. At the end of the CEO’s talk, Prof Mpofu engaged with Mr Granger about the Manufacturing research work his Research Unit was conducting at the University. Prof Mpofu was introduced to Gibela’s Economic Development Director, Dr Buyiswa Mncono-Liwani, and a meeting was set up in 2015. Prof Mpofu prepared a value proposition and lead a delegation with Prof John Alfred Trimble and Prof Harold Campbell.

A year later in 2016 the parties agreed on an MOU to fund a Research Chair in manufacturing and skills development under the leadership of the Acting DVC, Dr Edgar Nesamvuni. The MOU was signed in July 2016 for five years. The founding steering committee members consist of the Director of the Gibela Economic Development, Gibela Manufacturing Director, Gibela Training Manager, Tshwane University of Technology Dean of Engineering and the Built Environment, Tshwane University of Technology, Curriculum Development Practitioner, Tshwane University of Technology, Industrial Engineering Head of Department (2015-2016), and a Train Expert from France.

The Future of Rail Manufacturing

About Gibela Rail Consortium

Gibela was formed as a consortium to replace South Africa’s outdated rolling stock and will deliver 600 state-of-the art passenger trains into the South African rail network over the next 10 years. Fully empowered, Gibela is conscious of its role as a catalyst for economic development and the creation of new skills through its majority shareholder, Alstom. In a contract signed in 2013, the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (PRASA) assigned Gibela the task of replacing its rolling stock with new trains.

Gibela is headquartered in Johannesburg, while its manufacturing and training facility is located in Dunnottar, Ekurhuleni, Gauteng. Through the rolling stock project, Gibela will generate 1 500 direct jobs and thousands of indirect jobs through the supply chain over a 10-year period. Thousands of people – engineers, artisans, technicians, train drivers and technologists – will benefit from training and upskilling.

About the Gibela Research Chair in Manufacturing and Skills Development

The vision of the Research Chair is to pioneer cutting edge research in manufacturing technology development and manufacturing value chain skills development geared for the revitalisation of the South African railway manufacturing sector.

The Research Chair focuses on manufacturing in rail specific learning programmes, research and development on rail as illustrated in Figure 1: