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% female and 51% male staff, with 90% 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.

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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 $100 billion in investment over the next five years.

– African News Agency