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Minister Lynne Brown’s speech at the joint Transnet and Glasgow Caldonian University Rail Operations Management Programme Graduation Ceremony, 30 Oct

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Minister Lynne Brown’s speech at the joint Transnet and Glasgow Caldonian University Rail Operations Management Programme Graduation Ceremony, 30 Oct

​Chairperson of the Transnet board, Ms Linda Mabaso

Members of the Transnet Board

Acting Group Chief Executive of Transnet, Mr Siyabonga Gama

Trade Commissioner at UK Trade & Investment, Mr Andrew Henderson

Vice Chancellor of Glasgow Caledonian University, Professor Pamela Gillies

Deputy Vice Chancellor of Glasgow Caledonian University, Professor James Miller Professor Daneel Van Lill, Executive Dean at the University of Johannesburg Members of the Transnet Executive Graduates and distinguished guests

Today, we are meeting to celebrate a partnership that is growing. It underlines Government’s commitment through Transnet to provide much-needed skills to not only Transnet but to the country as a whole. We are also meeting against the backdrop of massive protests at our centres of higher learning. As a country, we have overcome many challenges and I am confident that a solution will be found and students will be able to write their final examinations.

However, I want to add this partnership as a model that Technical Universities and private sector companies should try to emulate.

The South African Government, through the National Development Plan envisages a development path that is sufficiently broadened to create inclusive opportunities that will lead to meaningful participation in the economy, with particular focus on the previously disadvantaged, which includes women, youth, people with disabilities and rural communities.

At the nexus of this developmental agenda is the imperative of socio-economic development, which is a foundational objective of State Owned Companies.

In this regard, State Owned Companies play a pivotal role and serve as a platform and catalyst for advancing the achievement of the much desired socio-economic development and transformation.

The mandate of our State Owned Companies is both to drive the developmental agenda of the state while remaining financially sustainable, and therefore, the continuous analysis of their contribution to addressing specific developmental goals such as education, employment creation, poverty eradication and rural development is very critical.

Key interventions have been initiated by Transnet to respond to these two mandates, and the following are some highlights of their key achievements:

Infrastructure Development Programmes

  • Transnet is currently in its third year of implementing its Market Demand Strategy (MDS), which is underwritten by a seven year rolling CAPEX Infrastructure Investment programme.
  • In 2013, the company announced the awarding of a R50 billion contract for the building of 1 064 diesel and electric locomotives to four global original equipment manufacturers. This is by far the largest locomotive procurement transaction South Africa has undertaken.
  • The acquisition of the historic 1 064 locomotive transaction was preceded by a procurement of 95 electric locomotives. The successful completion and delivery of 95 locomotives was celebrated by President Jacob Zuma earlier this year. 85 of the 95 locomotives were assembled at the Transnet Engineering facility in Koedoespoort, Pretoria.

The programme to build 95 electric locomotives was executed in partnership with an original equipment manufacturer with the production programme being completed within a record 12 months. The process exceeded all technology and skills transfer targets.

Skills Development Programmes

Given the colossal skills shortages in scarce and critical skills areas needed to drive industrialisation to support the achievement of the New Growth Path and the National Development Plan objectives, Transnet must be commended for their continuous support in achieving these objectives by setting specific skills development targets in their Shareholder Compacts on an annual basis. As part of the MDS Transnet is spending R7 , 6 billion over seven years on training as part of their employment and skills development programme, This includes R4,7 billion on bursaries and grants.

Transnet has also established a number of state of the art specialised training schools which include:

  • School of Engineering which focuses on artisan development and apprentice training such as welding, mechatronics, fitting and turner, etc. In the current financial year, Transnet has been compacted to enrol 665 artisans in various trades, and the company has about 1 000 others in the pipeline due to complete their training next year, funded through the National Skills Fund, thanks to the collaboration between the DPE and the Department of Higher Education and Training;
  • The Maritime School of Excellence which focuses on the development of maritime related training such as cargo coordinator, operator lifting equipment, skipper port operations, marine pilots, to mention just a few. Currently, 89 trainees are participating in various marine related programmes;
  • The School of Security provides the training of protection officers;The School of Leadership provides leadership development support and focuses on areas such as Internal Audit, Supply Chain, Project Management, Property Management; and
  • The School of Rail, whose success we are celebrating today, focuses on training related to rail operations such as rail driver and train control officers, amongst others. The collaboration between Transnet’s Institute for Railway Operators, Glasgow Caledonian University and the University of Johannesburg is highly commendable. Our view is that this collaboration will add impetus to the development of the much needed skills required to drive the Market Demand Strategy (MDS) for Transnet.

Through this collaboration, Transnet has successfully developed and implemented three qualifications, namely: the Certificate, Diploma and BSc in Railway Operations Management.

It is pleasing to indicate that the BSc programme has been evaluated and approved by the South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA), and has been confirmed to meet NQF level 7 requirements for Bachelor of Science degrees.

To date, 81 students of the first cohort graduated in October 2014, and today, we are gathered here to celebrate the graduation of 180 trainees from the second cohort.

Let me address the graduates. You are pioneers and pioneers never give up. You are like the sharp point of an arrow and you will have to open the doors for those who will follow behind you.

Let me quote a Swahili proverb:

“Wealth, if you use it, comes to an end; learning, if you use it, increases.” The road you chose to travel will not be easy but if you persevere, you will take your rightful place in society and be trainers of the ones following in your footsteps.

In conclusion, I want to thank the Glasgow Caledonian University for partnering with Transnet through the University of Johannesburg. To all those involve in the programme, I would like to encourage you to take this partnership to a higher level.

Let me close with a quote by former President Nelson Mandela: “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.”

I thank you.

Page last modified:04/11/2015 17:19