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Rolling stock refurbisher signals intent to become OEM as it celebrates twentieth anniversary

7th December 2018

By: Natasha Odendaal

Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor

     

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Celebrating its twentieth anniversary with a redesigned logo and brand, rolling stock refurbishing company Wictra Holdings is seeking new opportunities to enter the original-equipment manufacturing (OEM) sector.

With renewed drive in South Africa’s rolling stock fleet renewal programme, the group can be a strong contender in the local manufacture of rolling stock, says Wictra Holdings Group CEO Wicus Pretorius.

Speaking at the anniversary celebrations in November, he noted that President Cyril Ramaphosa was promoting the manufacturing sector as a high priority area, with emphasis on localisation, particularly within the rolling stock industry, which could unlock industrialisation, skills development, job creation and economic and social development.

“Our President has, on various occasions, indicated the serious need for local industry to develop and build rolling stock,” he says.

Wictra believes it is already well positioned and that it is a natural next step after completing the refurbishment of 2 175 coaches for the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa, comprising 630 motor coaches, 1 458 plain trailer coaches and 87 mainline coaches.

Ad hoc orders bring this number to 3 300.

“That is no mean feat. There is no other company that has managed that,” he says.

Pretorius highlights the company’s active participation in new-build trains over the past ten years, with valuable experience gained.

“We are well equipped . . . and [ready to] explore other spheres in the rolling stock domain,” he adds.

COO Thinus Pretorius and his team will drive this ambition, with the diversification into more areas currently being explored.

Wictra hopes to develop into an OEM that can compete internationally, starting with South Africa.

“I am extremely confident that Wictra will play a leading role in the future Southern African rolling stock manufacturing business,” Wicus Pretorius says.

Starting from humble beginnings as a consultancy in 1996, the group registered as Wictra CC in 1998, taking advantage of the lack of competition in the refurbishing of the rolling stock market segment.

Operating in the Bellman Shed, in Cape Town, the group successfully repaired and refurbished its first plain trailer in September 1998 and first motor coach in December 1998 for the then South Africa Rail Commuter Corporation.

Wictra Holdings was founded as a Pty Ltd company in 2000 and became a fully fledged black economic-empowered (BEE) company in 2002 after Omega Scientific Research, a 100% BEE company, obtained 50% shareholding in Wictra Holdings.

In

2000, the group completed its fiftieth coach in Cape Town, expanded to Wadeville, Johannesburg, and completed its first coach in the new Gauteng branch.

In

2002, the company’s Cape Town branch moved to Brackenrite, and in March 2003, its Wadeville branch moved to its current 32 000 m2 Dunswart premises.

In 2017, the group expanded to Durban and established a 26 000 m2 Pretoria West facility.

The group refreshed its look during 2018 with the unveiling of a new logo, designed by an employee, who won R4 000 for the design.

The company now has about 300 workers.

Edited by Martin Zhuwakinyu
Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor

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