Tuesday, February 03, 2004

More madness north of the Limpopo
Robert Mugabe now wants to confiscate the country's largest sugar-producer, Hippo Valley, which, incidentally, employs 6000 full-time workers and 4000 seasonal workers. Hippo Valley is so productive that it produces all of Zim's sugar and exports to neighbouring countries. Interestingly, Anglo-American, South Africa's largest company, owns a controlling share in Hippo Valley. I've always been led to believe that companies such as Anglo, De Beers and SAB have some clout in the South African government. Does this mean that Anglo will lean on Mbeki to do something about this? And how will he respond? This should also be an interesting litmus test for Mbeki. What, after all, does he value more? His relationship with the companies that power South Africa's economy? Or his relationship with a despot who's systematically running his country into the ground? I'd like to believe the former but, on Mbeki's track-record, I incline towards the latter.


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