JOHANNESBURG, April 22– South African mining companies operating in Zimbabwe and African operations of several other South African firms have not been targeted by any retaliatory action over the recent xenophobic attacks in Durban and Johannesburg.
Officials and sources at most mining companies operating in Zimbabwe and executives from the Chamber of Mines say that as of Monday, no retaliatory action had been targeted at the South African-owned mining companies which include Zimplats, Unki, Mimosa and Metallon Gold.
On Monday, an international news agency 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 telephone from Harare that no incidence of disturbance at the South African-owned mines in Zimbabwe had been raised with the chamber.
“If there was anything of that nature in Zimbabwe, we would 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.”
This comes in the wake of a discussion by civic society organizations in Zimbabwe which initially suggested action against South African companies in Zimbabwe to raise concern over the attacks against foreign nationals in South Africa.
The civic society organizations ended up handing in a petition to the South African Embassy in Harare last Friday.
Packaging company, Nampak which has operations in several African nations has not picked up any threat or animosity in its immediate surroundings. Nampak said in a statement Tuesday that the company had standard repatriation plans in place and that these had not changed or upgraded in view of the recent violence in this country.
Grocery chain Shoprite, which has wide operations north of South Africa’s borders, said it was not currently affected and was trading as normal.
Richard Boorman, the spokesperson for mobile phone operator Vodacom said: “We have 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 have had no threats directed towards our staff.”
Chris Maroleng, the group corporate affairs executive at mobile operator MTN, said: “We have not repatriated any staff member.”
According to Maroleng, nothing dramatic had happened for MTN to bring South African staff back home from operations like Nigeria.