Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula has met with stakeholders involved in the business operations and production of the Gibela Rail Consortium Dunnottar factory in Ekurhuleni, as part of efforts to improve the country's rail network.
The Minister was accompanied by the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (Prasa) Administrator Bongisizwe Mpondo when he met some of the 918 staff members, of which 80% are aged 35 and under.
During their visit, the Minister and Mpondo inspected specialised equipment worth R350 million at the state-of-the-art plant, which has been designed to the highest environmental standards.
"One of the priorities outlined by President Cyril Ramaphosa in his recent State of the Nation Address is to fix the commuter rail system, which the president acknowledged is vital to the economy. This plant is an important component towards achieving that priority," said Mbalula on Monday.
The R1 billion investment is the most advanced train manufacturing plant in Africa and the southern hemisphere, and produces train sets for Prasa.
The Minister praised the operation and noted the need to further improve operational efficiencies while also committing to work with both the shareholders of Gibela Rail Consortium (Alstom Southern Africa and Ubumbano Rail).
Mbalula has also pledged to review the long-term financial sustainability of the plant even beyond the last train to be manufactured on the order book of Prasa.