Prasa awarded the Alstom-led Gibela consortium a Rand 51bn ($US 3.64bn) contract in October 2013 to supply 600 X'Trapolis Mega suburban EMUs over a 10-year period. Gibela will assemble 580 trains at its purpose-built plant at Dunnottar in Gauteng province, which rolled out its first completed train last December.

The trains currently in Western Cape will undergo trials on the lines from Cape town to Bellville, Fishoek and Langa.

The president’s visit to Cape Town comes just two weeks after the city announced it was pressing ahead with the development of plans to take over commuter rail operations in the region from Prasa.