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Sep 17 2008

Naspers, Anglo criticised for dealing with Mugabe

Published by at 12:59 pm under Companies

First published on my old blog on 25/6/2008.

Last week the German “quasi-intellectual” weekly newspaper Die Zeit carried an article about a printer in Munich which prints the money (notes) for Mugabe’s government and delivers a fresh batch of notes to Zim every week. The paper quoted local sources critical of the continued cooperation with Mugabe.

This week Mandy de Waal, a SA blogger and journalist, wrote on her blog Artificial Intelligence about her effort to find out more about the R3 million print job done by Paarl Web (subsidiary of Naspers) for ZANU PF, Mugabe’s political party.

Apparently, it printed election pamphlets, after Caxton (another printer) refused to do it. It refused only after the chairman, Frederik van Zyl Slabbert, threatened to resign if the job was taken on by Caxton.  This seemed to be a real “hot potato” for Naspers, as was also reflected by the reaction of the responsible Naspers managers (they were not available for comment, according to De Waal).  Anyway, today a magazine in the US tried to hang a stinker around Anglo American’s neck, for it’s involvement and continued investment in Zim.

In my opinion, this criticism is off the mark and invalid.  Read and form your own opinion. It’s lifted from the MoneyWeek website:

Anglo defends Zimbabwe investment 25.06.2008 Mining giant Anglo American has strongly defended its planned £200m investment in Robert Mugabe’s troubled Zimbabwe, emphasising its responsibility to more than 650 local workers and their families. “Anglo American is deeply concerned about the current political situation in Zimbabwe and condemns the violence and human rights abuses that are taking place,” it said in response to widespread criticism.

The firm, which has been developing the Unki platinum project in the country since 2003, said it is monitoring the situation very closely and is “reviewing all options surrounding the development of the project”. The UK government has recently stepped up pressure on companies to pull out of Zimbabwe following a sharp rise in violence against Mugabe’s political opponents in the Movement for Democratic Change. Earlier this week, its leader Morgan Tsvangirai pulled out of the presidential run-off due to fears that his party’s supporters would be risking their lives it they cast their votes. He has since taken refuge at the Dutch embassy in Harare.

Anglo says it is in full compliance with all relevant national and international laws relating to its activities in Zimbabwe.

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