HomeBusiness DigestS Africa business gains from Zimbabwe crisis

S Africa business gains from Zimbabwe crisis

SOUTH African companies are cashing in on Zimbabwe’s economic turmoil, boosting investments and expanding their operations despite deepening hardships, a human rights group said on Tuesday.

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tered Solidarity Peace Trust (SPT), said that South African companies were riding out the economic crisis in the hope of making big profits if stability returns to Zimbabwe, once one of Africa’s most prosperous countries.

“Clearly South African companies have in a sense cashed in on the crisis … and therefore one would need to ask what South African companies have been doing in terms of trying to resolve the crisis,” Brian Raftopoulos, SPT director of research and advocacy, told a news conference.

Speaking at the launch of an SPT report, he suggested South African companies had the economic muscle to influence regional mediation efforts aimed at easing Zimbabwe’s suffering.

South African President Thabo Mbeki has been spearheading regional mediation efforts between Zimbabwean leader Robert Mugabe and the opposition ahead of March 2008 presidential and parliamentary elections.

Regional countries report progress but Western diplomats say little headway has been made.

SPT is a non-governmental organisation chaired by Pius Ncube, a former Zimbabwean archbishop and fierce Mugabe critic.

Ncube resigned from his church post last month after allegations of adultery he said were orchestrated by the state to prevent him speaking out on human rights.

South African company officials have said they are struggling to operate in Zimbabwe, with government price controls making the country an even harder place to do business.

Mugabe’s ruling party has also pushed a bill through parliament that will give locals a controlling stake in foreign companies, which analysts say could further hurt the economy. — Reuters.

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