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PUBLIC Enterprises Minister Malusi Gigaba on Thursday launched the first R100m phase of a R240m investment by heavy engineering group DCD to recapitalise its railway manufacturing plant in Boksburg.

The revamp of its DCD Rolling Stock division introduces robotic technology to boost global competitiveness, and will expand the group's rail manufacturing capacities by up to 10 times.

The investment also comes at a time when South Africa is acquiring new locomotives and passenger trains through state-run Transnet and the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (Prasa), amid a call for increased local procurement in the rail sector.

DCD Rolling Stock makes locomotives, wagons and bogies for railway, mining and industrial markets worldwide. It says hundreds of new jobs will be created from January.

Most significantly, the three- to five-year roll-out period will allow DCD to benefit from the multibillion-rand long-term spending plans of Transnet and Prasa.

"South Africa needs a high rate of economic growth over a sustained period of time," Mr Gigaba said on Thursday. He said this must be supported by policies that help South African manufacturing to thrive.

DCD's latest investment follows recent substantial outlays on other group divisions. These include R100m on DCD Protected Mobility's new armoured vehicle manufacturing facility in nearby Isando, a R330m investment into its DCD Ringrollers railway "tyre" factory in Vereeniging, and R300m for a wind energy manufacturing plant at the Coega Industrial Development Zone near Port Elizabeth.

The first phase of the new rail manufacturing programme will focus on upgrading the 42,000m² rail products plant, which was previously also occupied by DCD Protected Mobility. This includes the installation of four robotic welders, and repairing the factory.

The group also said the upgrade would help realise the government's vision of building a globally competitive manufacturing sector.

Posted in: DCD Rail
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