09 July 2007 – Social Economic Development through Gautrain

Posted on Jul 18, 2007 in Media Releases

The Gautrain Rapid Rail Link has already made a significant contribution to Broad Based Black Economic Empowerment (BBBEE), development of Small, Medium and Micro Enterprises (SMMEs), skills development, capacity building and job creation over the past seven months since the commencement of the project in September 2006.  According to Gauteng MEC for Public Transport, Roads and Works, Ignatius Jacobs, this contribution is in line with the Gauteng Provincial Government’s philosophy of conceptualising the project with the major focus on Social Economic Development (SED).

“In carrying out its SED obligations the Gauteng Province, in partnership with Bombela, continues to demonstrate support in ensuring that this project plays its role in bridging the gap between the first and the third world economies.  To this effect every endeavour is made to ensure that the previously disadvantaged benefit to the greatest possible value during the different phases of the project” Jacobs stated.

By end of April 2007 the Gautrain Project has reported significant impact on socio economic development in the following areas:

  • 25% Black persons’ shareholding in the Bombela Concession Company through the Strategic Partners Group (SPG) – its BEE partner.
  • About R246 million has been spent on the procurement from, and sub-contracting to BEE’s.
  • About R48 million has been spent on procurement from, and sub-contracting to new BEEs.
  • About R75 million has been spent on procurement from and sub-contracting to SMME’s.
  • South African materials, plant and equipment to the value of about R79 million have been purchased.

The Gautrain Project is not only about the innovative transport system that will be delivered, but about the technology that will be transferred, the jobs that will be created, the new skills that will be learned, the boost to the local economy and the socio-economic development of the country that will result.

In response to its skills and development programme, Bombela has already trained more than 2 000 people which has a long-term benefit for all local employees.

The Concession Company has also been rapidly increasing its labour force over the past seven months and has significantly exceeded its obligations with regards to employment equity. At the end of April 2007, Bombela, its contractors and sub-contractors have employed 2 697 people, of which more 93 percent (2 517) are local people.  Of this 78 % are HDIs. About 366 are women, 11% of whom are in management positions.

Since June 2006, the Gautrain Project has been making huge strides in successfully employing individuals living with disabilities.  By end of April 2007, 30 people with different disabilities have been employed and are contributing to the project in a productive and meaningful way. It is important to note that Bombela is treading on grounds not yet explored by other corporate institutions on such a large scale.

Quite a number of assistive devices have been purchased to enable employees with disabilities to fulfil their daily tasks on an equal level with their able-bodied counterparts. These include Jaws and Zoom Text, which are both computer Software Programs that enables visually challenged employees to use their computers for maximum job satisfaction. The necessary measures have also been put into place to install a roof rack in the car of a physically challenge employee, to comfortably transport a wheelchair.

The Health and Safety Department is putting the required measures into place to ensure that the Evacuation of individuals with disabilities in the case of an emergency is a safe and dignified process. Specialised chairs, the EVAC Chair, which is used to enhance the evacuation procedure, have been purchased.

The training and development of these employees is a definite priority since it will empower them towards playing an equal part within the open labour market.

79 young women have already enrolled and are currently actively participating in a learnership programme in scarce skills e.g. mining and blasting, fitting and turning, millwright as well as Business Administration. This is part of the 120 women that Bombela is committed to take through learnership programme during the construction phase.

The above SED performance has not been without challenges which Bombela is continually addressing. These include shortage of skills, especially technical, as well as procurement of machinery.  Most of the machinery needed in the project is highly specialised and only available outside of South Africa.
Ends

Issued on behalf of:  MEC Ignatius Jacobs
Gauteng MEC for Public Transport, Roads and Works

Issued by:   Barbara Jensen
Gautrain spokesperson
barbara@gautran.co.za

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