The event will coincide with the commemoration of Transport Month under the theme ‘Together, we move South Africa Forward’.
October Transport Month 2018, the Department of Transport said, focuses on demonstrating service delivery and showcasing transport infrastructure and services. These range from rail, road, maritime, aviation and public transport meant to improve the country’s transport system to make it safe, affordable, efficient and reliable.
The launch of the train factory will create much-needed jobs and job opportunities, while attracting investment and boosting the economy of the country.
The 72-hectare site at Dunnottar Park, which cost R1 billion, consists of a Supplier Park and Rail Training School, which will manufacture, assemble, test, commission and deliver 580 new commuter trains.
“This massive investment will include the local manufacturing of parts, maintenance, training facilities, creation of jobs, skills development, the achievement of a 65% local content, and it will promote black economic empowerment and support communities,” the department said.
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.
“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 the department.
The department said the unwarranted torching of Metrorail trains, vandalism and arson attacks of rail infrastructure has resulted in severe inconveniences to the rail commuting public.
This project, the department said, will alleviate challenges of overcrowding and delayed arrival of trains and provide an affordable, efficient and reliable rail service.
Nzimande will be joined by the Deputy Minister of Transport Sindisiwe Chikunga, Gauteng Premier David Makhura, Provincial MECs of Transport, senior government officials together with key government stakeholders and members of the public.