Feb 2012

On the move to a better future

Employment news
On the move to a better future

Thousands of young people are set to benefit with the much-needed skills from an apprentice programme involving state-owned logistics group Transnet, which recently signed a contract with General Electrical to build diesel-electric locomotives in South Africa.

Speaking at the signing ceremony, Public Enterprises Minister Malusi Gigaba said he was happy that the deal to build the more than 100 locomotives in South Africa included the apprentice programme.

“This will expand our country’s skills base and transfer technical knowledge to young people who struggle to join labour market due to lack of skills.


In 2009, Transnet bought 100 diesel-electric locomotives from General Electric (GE) and the latest deal sees an additional 43 diesel-electric locomotive to the original 100.

The 43C30ACi diesel-electric locomotives will be built by Transnet Rail Engineering at its Koedespoort plant outside Pretoria.

Transnet Chief Executive Officer Brian Molefe said 65 per cent of the late contract value would have local content as outlined in the government’s Competitive Supplier Development Programme.

This programme has to do with aspects such as localisation of parts and production, skills transfer and development, technology transfer, industrialisation, social investment and job creation.

New jobs

The latest contract between Transnet and GE will see a total of 337 new jobs being created over and above the apprenticeship programme that will benefit thousands of young people during the assembling of the locomotives at Koedespoort.

Almost 30 per cent of the components of the 43 diesel-electric locomotives to be assembled at Koedespoort will be local. This represents a 10 per cent increase from the 20,3 per cent local components used in the 100 locomotives bought through the 2009 deal. 

The 143 locomotives will be transporting mined products such as coal on Transnet’s Phalaborwa-Richards Bay line as well transporting iron-ore on the Sishen-Saldanha line as well as other goods on the Witbank-Nelspruit-Komatipoort line and to transport coal to Eskom power stations.

Education and skills

“Exactly eleven month ago we saw the delivery of locomotives by General Electric to Transnet which are part of our plans to revitalise South Africa’s rail infrastructure capacity. Through this contract, we are giving practical effect of taking urgent steps to place education and skills development at the centre of our transformation and development agenda,” said Minister Gigaba.

Higher Education and Training Minister Blade Nzimande also hailed the locomotive building programme as a first step in the right direction in creating a skills base among young people so that they could play an important role in shaping the country’s economy.

“We are happy about this deal between Transnet and General Electric. In fact, we lost massive opportunities to skill a number of our young people during the building of World Cup stadia. Therefore, this time we are happy that there would be opportunities for real skills transfer in the form of apprenticeships and there will be a connection with workplace placement as well,” said Minister Nzimande during the launch of the Green Paper for Post-School Education and Training.

-Mbulelo Baloyi

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