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South Africa will start manufacturing trains in Johannesburg

JOHANNESBURG South Africa (Xinhua) -- South Africa will start manufacturing, assembling, testing, commissioning and delivering new commuter trains in Johannesburg, the country’s Department of Transport said on Monday.

According to the Department of Transport, the total cost of factory is over 70 million U.S. dollars, and its construction started in January 2016.

The plant will be officially opened this week.

“The plant will deliver two new trains by December 2018, and approximation of nine trains by March 2019, and an estimated total of 56 trains over the next two years thereafter if bulk service challenges are overcome,” Transport Ministry spokesperson Ishmael Mnisi said.

He said the train manufacturing factory employs 635 people.

South Africa has been importing coaches from countries like China and the United Stations.



South Africans urged to fight gender-based violence in guise of religion

CAPE TOWN South Africa (Xinhua) -- Minister of Women in the Presidency Bathabile Dlamini on Monday urged South Africans to fight gender-based violence in the guise of religion and faith.

“We condemn the acts of gender-based violence that occurred in the guise of religion and faith,” Dlamini said at the trial of Nigerian Pastor Timothy Omotoso and two co-accused in the Port Elizabeth High Court, Eastern Cape Province.

Dlamini, along with Communications Minister Nomvula Mokonyane and Eastern Cape Premier Phumullo Masualle, attended the trial, indicating the high attention the government is attaching to the case.

“This is a turning point for everyone to ask themselves what they have done to protect women, especially the justice system,” Dlamini said while addressing the public outside court.

Omotoso is charged with rape and human trafficking, while the two co-accused women are accused of recruiting girls from all over the country for purposes of sexual exploitation.

The trio are facing more than 60 charges that include racketeering and rape.

The 58-year-old televangelist allegedly trafficked more than 30 girls and women who were from various branches of his church to a house in Umhlanga, KwaZulu-Natal, where he allegedly sexually exploited them.

Omotoso was arrested on April 20 last year, by the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation, known as the Hawks, at the Port Elizabeth Airport.

According to state prosecutors, some of the alleged victims are as young as 13 years old.

The pastor has been denied bail on two occasions, as he was deemed a flight risk. The co-accused were arrested in November last year and are out on bail.

The case has sparked public interest in South Africa, where there is a history of so-called holy men taking advantage of their congregations.

“Today we find adults who took children to places of worship who are accomplices since they also contributed to the grooming of these children as sex slaves,” Dlamini said.

“We condemn the hijacking and use of our own buildings and sites for illegal religious practices,” she said. “What is happening in these places of worship is human trafficking.”

The minister said her department is also aware of the many cases of intimidation against women who have spoken up against Omotoso.

“We note with concern the social media comments going around. We wish to warn all those who intimidate these women that they are accomplices in the crime of abuse that Omotoso is accused of,” she said.

The minister said her department will be embarking on a process of planning toward public hearings with various stakeholders against gender-based violence and all forms of abuses in the guise of religion and faith.

“These abuses can be in churches, in synagogues, in mosques, on mountains, under the sea and in heaven above,” she said.

These hearings will offer women a platform to speak about their experiences, according to Dlamini.

“They will also shed the veil of shame that comes with being abused, and finally heal the pain they have been carrying alone,” she said.

Concurrent to the hearings, the government will be reviewing the Sexual Offenses Act, the Domestic Violence Act and the Criminal Procedures Act, with the view to strengthen the country’s laws to protect women, Dlamini said.

She said her department will also be meeting with the Departments of Home Affairs and International Relations and Cooperation to deliberate on the theme of migration as it pertains not only to this case in particular, but also to the many unregulated religious institutions headed by foreign nationals.


Bahrain, India, Lesotho, South Africa win Investment Promotion Awards

GENEVA (Xinhua) -- Agencies from Bahrain, India, Lesotho, and South Africa were on Monday awarded the UN Investment Promotion Awards (IPAs) for excellence in boosting investment helping countries meet the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The prizes were presented on the opening day of the 2018 World Investment Forum, organized by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) and taking place in Geneva from Oct. 22-26.

The awards showcase best practices in attracting investment into SDG-related projects that can inspire investment promotion practitioners in developing and developed countries, said UNCTAD.

“IPAs have a critical role to play in mobilizing investment to achieve the SDGs,” said UNCTAD’s director of investment and enterprise James Zhan.

“The award-winning agencies show that by mainstreaming the SDGs, IPAs can make a valuable contribution to social and economic development,” said the official.

The Lesotho National Development Corporation (LNDC) received its award for a large horticulture investment project that will create 15,000 direct and indirect jobs.

South Africa’s InvestSA was awarded for its instrumental role in facilitating two pioneering waste-to-nutrient recycling projects to up-cycle organic waste into natural, sustainable high-protein animal feed.

EDB Bahrain was awarded for its role in attracting a large-scale regional data center, which will provide cloud computing services in Bahrain and neighboring countries and the investor plans to employ 10,000 data-solution architects.

Invest India received its award for excellence in servicing and supporting a major global wind turbines company in the establishment of a blade manufacturing plant in India while committing to train local staff and produce 1 gigawatt of renewable energy.

The IPA Awards have been given annually since 2002 as part of UNCTAD’s investment promotion and facilitation program.



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