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Posted 22 March 2024

Partners in Knowledge: Gautrain and Wits Business School join forces

South Africa’s first rapid rail system, the ‘Gautrain’, changed the face of public transport in South Africa forever. A R23 billion-rand investment, which took twelve years from conception to completion, the Gautrain project was designed to promote the long-term sustainable economic growth of Gauteng.

The project is also an outstanding example of a successful public-private partnership (PPP): the Gautrain Management Agency (GMA), an entity of the Gauteng Provincial Government (GPG), manages and oversees the implementation and operations of the Gautrain Project on behalf of the GPG and the partnership between the GPG and  Bombela, the concession company in charge of the building, operation and maintenance of the system.

But, as with any partnership, there were many lessons learnt along the way, lessons that have been carefully documented.  As Viwe Mgedezi,  Head of Knowledge Management at the GMA explains, one of the stipulations ahead of the rollout of the project was that the knowledge gathered would be safeguarded and shared for the benefit of the country’s transport sector and the public at large.

Against the background of a struggling public transport sector and an urgent need to revitalise the national rail system, the Gautrain provided an innovative integrated transport solution to South Africa’s busiest economic hub. To document vital knowledge gained through the project, the GMA approached several academic institutions, including Wits Business School. The goal was to share leadership and business lessons learnt with as wide an audience as possible through academic papers and case studies.


This has resulted in a collection of case studies on the Gautrain Project on a range of topics, including construction management, environmental impact, financial management, brand communication, risk management and socio-economic development, among others.

“We aim to be a thought leader in public transport and to contribute to knowledge generation. In this we have partnered with universities and business schools to ensure that the knowledge is not lost. We believe knowledge management is pivotal to the future of public service, and specifically the public transport sector in South Africa,” says Viwe.

In 2023 the GMA appointed Wits Business School (WBS) as its knowledge partner which will see the two entities collaborating on information and knowledge management, the development of case studies and research papers, skills transfer, and other services such as psychometric assessments and executive coaching.

“Wits Business School is excited to be collaborating with GMA on their knowledge journey. As a research institution with a strong focus on the case method in our teaching, I believe WBS is extremely well positioned to support the GMA in achieving their strategic goals,” says Leoni Grobler, Director of Executive Education at WBS.

The GMA’s passion for learning has resulted not only in a collection of self-reflective case studies, but various other learning platforms, including its own ‘e-lounge’ which champions a culture of reading in the organisation and which publishes regular podcasts with inspirational leaders, and hosting an annual public transport knowledge seminar.

“When it comes to our knowledge plans for 2024 we are raring to go,” says Viwe, “and with partners on board such as WBS we believe we are taking our knowledge management strategy to a whole new level.”

Plans include further podcasts for public consumption (“Gautrain Talks”), regular leadership webinars, leadership training facilitation, and further partnerships with other entities across Wits University to share ideas and foster an accelerated culture of innovation in the transport sector.

Alison Gaylard
Communications Officer: Wits Business School