Alstom in South Africa 

Alstom in South Africa

A century of development

Alstom has been present in South Africa for more than a century. Throughout these years, and under various names and through different entities, the company has provided a wide range of products and technologies, playing a major part in developing the country’s infrastructure. Not only did Alstom provide equipment for 12 of South Africa’s 13 coal-fired power plants and for the only nuclear power plant, but it has also played a historical role in supplying technologies for passenger trains and locomotives, many of which are still in use.

Today Alstom is focused entirely on transport activities and is committed to being part of the revitalization of the rail and transport sector, notably though the PRASA (Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa) project. Awarded in 2013 to the Alstom-led joint-venture Gibela, this contract is for the delivery of 600 X’Trapolis Mega passenger trains and 19 years of maintenance, technical support and parts supply. The project also includes the creation of a new site at Dunnottar (Ekurhuleni), where Gibela’s South African employees will be trained and will produce the trains. Gibela will thereby contribute to regenerating the country’s rail industry with an objective of 65% local content and the creation of several thousands of jobs along the supply chain.

Moreover, Alstom is ready to contribute its international expertise to the much needed development of urban public transport in South Africa. With urban traffic expected to grow in the coming decade, tramway systems could complement the bus rapid transit (BRT) systems already deployed by some South African cities, and help to solve the congestion affecting them.

Key data on the PRASA project awarded to Gibela

  • 600 Alstom X’Trapolis Mega passenger trains (3,600 coaches) ordered
  • 65% of components sourced locally
  • 19 years of maintenance, technical support and spare parts to be provided for the coaches
  • 1bn rand: Gibela investment in the local manufacturing & training facility
  • 1500 direct jobs created in the new Dunottar factory  
  • 19,000   people to be trained by Gibela over 10 years

Managing Director’s Message

Welcome to Alstom in South Africa

Alstom has a long history in South Africa. From its original set-up in Cape Town at the beginning of the twentieth century to its current headquarters for the Southern African Region in Johannesburg, Alstom prides itself on a history of technological excellence and a commitment to local economic and social progress.

Today in South Africa, Alstom - especially through its joint venture Gibela, of which the company holds 61% - is an active and valuable participant in South Africa’s endeavours in creating employment and developing skills. 

Localization is a business imperative and a key driver of our global strategy. In South Africa, for example, 65% of the content required for the 600 trains of the PRASA project is procured from local suppliers. Additionally, we strive to develop long-term relationships with local companies, supporting them with training in our design, standards and specifications.

For Alstom, investment in skills development is an investment in South Africa’s future. Through its former energy business, Alstom has already trained over 800 South African artisans, engineers and managers. Now through the PRASA project Alstom/Gibela will train about 19,000 people in technical railway subjects over the next 10 years.

Alstom is present in over 60 countries throughout the world and has an unrivalled technical expertise in all domains of railway transport. Today we can leverage global expertise in localization, job creation and enrichment of the local supply chain. And we can deliver projects safely and efficiently.

Moreover, Alstom has developed a full range of innovative and competitive products and services that can provide a leading edge response to the challenges of urban transport, which are especially daunting in African cities. Alstom guarantees safe and seamless journeys to passengers using its products.

We are proud to bring all this to South Africa and to be a part of the development of South Africa’s sustainable rail transportation.

Yvan Eriau
Southern Africa Managing Director

Key people

  • Yvan Eriau, Southern Africa Managing Director
  • Matthias Handschin, PRASA Customer Director
  • Oupa Nkoane, Business Development Director

December 5th 2013

Contract awarded by Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (PRASA) to the Alstom-led joint-venture Gibela – to supply 600 X’Trapolis Mega passenger trains (3,600 coaches) over 10 years. It also includes the construction of a local manufacturing facility, technical support and spares supply over an 18-year period.

July 30th 2014

Gibela, the South African rail transport company in which Alstom has a 61% holding, officially presented in Johannesburg

December 19th 2014

Alstom Shareholders Meeting authorises the sale of Alstom Energy businesses to General Electric


Alstom finalises the sales of its energy activities and is entirely focused on Transport

Alstom South Africa has been building capacity in the country; through various commitments related to energy projects, we have been giving back to communities and meeting the Government’s requirements for doing business in South Africa.

Our CSR portfolio is focused on education.

  • Alstom has established a partnership with the WITS University in Johannesburg to promote excellence in engineering. Each year, Alstom funds bursaries for students in mechanical, electrical and urban engineering.
  • Alstom has also invested in the construction of the engineering faculty building and established an Alstom Chair in Clean Energy Systems Technology.
  • R8 million has been invested in the South African Nuclear Energy Council Training Centre.

Through various energy related projects, Alstom has already trained more than 650 artisans and 176 professionals, including engineers.

Now Alstom will carry on its commitments to South Africa through its transport projects. Through its local joint-venture Gibela, Alstom will further train 19,000 people over the 10 years of the PRASA project.


Alstom has been present in South Africa for more than a century, contributing significantly to the development of the country’s power infrastructure. Today, having sold its energy assets, Alstom is focused exclusively on transport. 

Alstom has long been a technology supplier to South African railways, providing locomotives and passenger trains which are still in use today. 

Companies subsequently acquired by Alstom have delivered to South Africa:

  • Class 19D steam-locomotives.
  • Class 1E electric locomotives, ordered in 1925, at the time the largest single type locomotive order placed anywhere in the world.
  • The first EMU (Class 1 M) trains.
  • Class 2M EMU trains.
  • Traction propulsion and control systems and general overhaul.

In 2013 PRASA (the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa) awarded a contract to Gibela – an Alstom-led joint-venture – to supply 600 passenger trains. The project also includes the creation of a new site at Dunnottar (Ekurhuleni), where Gibela’s South African employees will be trained and will produce the trains. Gibela will thereby contribute to regenerating the country’s rail industry with an objective of 65% local content.

Alstom is dedicated to ensuring that the country develops in ways that protect the environment and promote economic growth and social progress.