Gibela Rail Transport Consortium has expressed concern over ongoing community unrest in Duduza, in Ekurhuleni, which is impacting on constructionactivities at its R1-billion Dunnottar train manufacturing plant.
It said on Tuesday that the disruption to the time-sensitive construction work at the manufacturingfacility was threatening the completion of buildings key to the start of manufacturing and the training of recruits.
The company will supply 600 new commuter trains to the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa(PRASA) for use by its Metrorail business over the next ten years.
The new manufacturing facility will employ 1 500 people once fully operational.
A 4 000 m² training centre, which forms part of the facility, will be a conduit for the training of thousands of people over the next decade for the South African railway sector as a whole.
In terms of its contractual obligations to PRASA, Gibela and its contractors are required to prioritise historically disadvantaged South Africans (HDSAs) nationally for jobs, training and the supply of goods and services.
“Major misconceptions, seemingly fostered by entities claiming to be representative of the Duduza community, are that Duduza takes precedence over other communities in terms of jobs and training and that Gibela and its contractors, in breach of Gibela’s contract with PRASA, are recruiting foreign-owned companies as suppliers, to the exclusion of HDSA-owned companies,” Gibela said in a statement.
Gibela denied these allegations and noted that it had recently engaged with community representatives at meetings facilitated by representatives of the Ekurhuleni municipality.