South Africa is has officially launched US $75m train manufacturing factory at the Dunnottar Park in Nigel, Ekurhuleni, Gauteng province of the country.
The country’s Transport Minister Blade Nzimande, confirmed the reports and said the launching of the factory will be as a commemoration of South Africa’s Transport Month. The October Transport Month (the theme is ‘Together, we move South Africa Forward’) is celebrated by South Africa’s Department of Transport every year to demonstrate “service delivery and showcasing transport infrastructure and services.” These transport services include rail, road, maritime, aviation and public transport.
“This massive investment will include the local manufacturing of parts, maintenance, training facilities, the creation of jobs, skills development, the achievement of a 65% local content, and it will promote black economic empowerment and support communities” a statement from the Department of Transport read.
Black economic empowerment
The US $75m train manufacturing factory will be built on a 75-hectare. The factory site will contains a park for suppliers and a training school. Construction of the factory began in January 2016, with manufacturing activities starting in 2017. The overall employment equity constitutes 49% female and 51% male, with 635 full-time employees, 90% of whom are black.
It is hoped that the factory will go a long way in reducing the rate of youth unemployment in the country, which currently stands at 55.53% and also provide solutions for the vandalism and burning of rail equipment and parts that have put a strain on South Africa’s rail system.
“The plant will deliver two new trains by December 2018, an approximation of nine trains by March 2019 and an estimated total of 56 trains over the next two years thereafter if bulk service challenges are overcome,” said Blade Nzimande.
The Department of Transport also says the manufacturing factory will reduce the challenges of overcrowding at train stations and “provide an affordable, efficient and reliable rail service.”
The Minister of Transport was joined by his deputy Sindisiwe Chikunga, the Gauteng Province Premier David Makhura, and other key government officials.