Vodacom, MTN employees safe from xenophobia retaliation

SA mining companies in Zimbabwe and several other Africa operations have not been targeted by the wave of retaliatory action over the recent xenophobic attacks in Durban and Johannesburg.

Officials and sources at most mining companies in Zimbabwe and executives from the chamber of mines said as of Monday, no retaliation action had been targeted at the South African owned mining companies which include Zimplats, Unki, Mimosa and Metallon Gold.

On Monday Reuters reported that Kenmare Resources had repatriated 62 South Africans working at its titanium mine in Mozambique for their safety after xenophobic attacks hit Durban and more recently Johannesburg.

Isaac Kwesu, the chief executive officer of the chamber of mines of Zimbabwe said by phone from Harare that no incidences of disturbances at the SA owned mines in Zimbabwe had been raised with the chamber of mines.

“If there was anything of that nature in Zim, we could have been informed immediately because those companies are highly connected to the chamber, we would have known immediately. As Zimbabweans, retaliation is far from us,” he said.

This comes in the wake of a discussion by civic society organisations in Zimbabwe which initially suggested action against SA companies in Zimbabwe to raise concern over the attacks against foreign nationals in Durban and recently, Johannesburg.

The civic society organisations ended up handing in a petition to the SA embassy in Harare last Friday.

Africa operations trading as usual

Packaging company, Nampak, which has several operations in Africa has not picked up any threats or animosity in their immediate surroundings.

Spokesperson Clare Carr told Fin24 that the company has standard repatriation plans in place and that these have not changed or upgraded in view of the recent violence.

Grocery chain, Shoprite, which has widespread operations north of South Africa’s borders, told Fin24 that it is not currently affected and is trading as normal.

“The supermarket group’s policy is to employ staff from the local populations and only 63 of the 11 269 employees in these countries are South Africans,” said spokesperson Sarita Van Wyk.

Richard Boorman, spokesperson for Vodacom: “We’ve not sent anyone home. The position remains the same that we’re monitoring developments closely and have plans in place if needed, but so far we’ve had no threats directed towards our staff”.

Chris Maroleng, who the executive for group corporate affairs at MTN said “We haven’t repatriated any staff member”. According to Maroleng nothing dramatic has happened yet for MTN to send SA staff back home from operations like Nigeria.

Asked to leave

News24 reported Friday on a Facebook video showing South African employees in Inhambane, Mozambique being asked to leave by a peaceful group of Mozambicans and colleagues.

The Consumer Association of Malawi (CAM) on Saturday urged Malawians to boycott SA businesses in the country in retaliation over the displacement and killings of foreigners in South Africa.

Those affected by the xenophobic attacks are expected to start arriving in their countries of origin. Most had fled economic hardships and political instability in countries such as Zimbabwe, Malawi and Somalia.

Source Fin24

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Vodacom, MTN employees safe from xenophobia retaliation