South Africa tackles recession headlong with the launch of $75 million train factory
Cape Town,October 26, 2018 (AltAfrica) -South African President Cyril Ramaphosa on Thursday officially launch a new, multi-billion rand train manufacturing factory at Dunnottar Park in Nigel, Gauteng.
The launch of the train factory is expected to create more than 8 000 direct jobs throughout the Gibela Consortium’s supply chain, with this factory targeting the creation of 1 500 jobs.
In his address President Ramaphosa said: “After years of decline, we are determined to restore manufacturing as a growing sector of our economy, in large part because it has great potential to create jobs, support secondary industries and increase our export capacity.”
“These are new jobs in an industry that is relatively new in our country, and which has great potential for expansion.
“This is the kind of decent work that the social partners spoke about when they convened at the Jobs Summit; work which draws in young people without much experience or prior training and provides them with skills that will serve them well beyond the life of this project,” read part of the President’s address.
The plant is scheduled to deliver two new trains by December 2018, a further nine trains by March 2019 and an estimated 56 trains over the next two years.
The train manufacturing factory, which cost about $75 million, is a 75-hectare site and contains a park for suppliers and a training school. 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.
There are hopes the new factory will provide solutions for the vandalism and burning of rail equipment and parts that have put a strain on South Africa’s rail system. The new manufacturing factory can help produce replacement spare parts for those lost due to vandalism, and reduce the strain on South Africa’s public rail system. 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 train manufacturing factory took 2 years to complete, with construction having begun in January 2016, while manufacturing activities began in 2017. It is also 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 percent.
Already, there are 635 full-time employees working at the factory;49 percent female and 51 percent male, with 90 percent of them black.