29 July 2014
State logistics company Transnet officially opened a R30-million wagon refurbishment facility in De Aar in South Africa’s Northern Cape province on Monday.
The De Aar wagons depot will maintain various types of wagons for Transnet Freight Rail, functioning as a satellite workshop for the Transnet Rail Engineering Beaconsfield Depot in Kimberley.
Speaking at the opening, Public Enterprises Minister Lynne Brown said the investment was aimed at increasing Transnet Freight Rail’s capacity on the main freight corridor between Johannesburg and Cape Town.
This facility has already created jobs and improved rail engineering skills in the area, Brown said, adding that 47 people, 22 of them from De Aar, had already been employed, and that an estimated 300 direct and indirect jobs would be created through this facility.
“Government is committed to revitalising the economy of rural towns such as De Aar, so that we create sustainable livelihoods for the local people,” Brown said. “A wagon refurbishment facility will have a long-term impact not only on De Aar but surrounding areas, as it will be a springboard for development within the broader Northern Cape province.
“The establishment of such a facility brings hope to the youth of De Aar to become engineers and better their lives.”
After the opening, Brown and Northern Cape Premier Sylvia Lucas handed over two new houses to families who agreed to make way for Transnet’s new Youth Multi-Purpose Precinct next to the De Aar Rail Station.
The youth precinct comprises a youth shelter for 20 homeless boys, a youth educational centre, a recreational park and a social club for youth volunteers.
The Transnet Foundation will fully fund the De Aar Youth Precinct NGO for the first three years (2014, 2015 and 2016). During this time, the Transnet Foundation will engage with other potential partners to invest in the precinct.