JOHANNESBURG – President Cyril Ramaphosa will on Thursday officially launch a new R1 billion train-manufacturing factory at Dunnottar Park in Benoni that will manufacture, assemble, test, commission and deliver 580 new commuter trains.

The plant is scheduled to deliver two new trains by December, a further nine trains by March 2019 and an estimated total of 56 trains over the next two years.

Construction of the factory commenced in January 2016 with manufacturing activity starting in 2017. It employs a 49 percent female and 51 percent male stuff, with 90 percent being black.

The launch is part of the government's 20-year modernisation programme aimed at revitalising the rail industry.

Earlier this month, transport minister Blade Nzimande said his department would during October showcase infrastructure and services in rail, road, maritime, aviation and public transport.

He said the recent torching of Metrorail trains, vandalism and arson attacks on rail infrastructure had resulted in severe inconveniences to the rail commuting public.

The local manufacture of new trains and implementation of a world-class rail system would alleviate overcrowding and train delays, thereby providing an affordable, efficient and reliable rail service, Nzimande said.

Ramaphosa will earlier on Thursday lead a three-day investment conference to explore how to raise at least US$100 billion in investment over the next five years.

African News Agency (ANA)