Sasol suspended operations on a low-pressure compression project being run by contracted service providers in Mozambique yesterday in the wake of violent xenophobic attacks that have spread across parts of South Africa.

According to a Business Day report, contractor employees at a natural gas processing facility in Temane downed tools in protest against the xenophobic violence that has so far claimed at least five lives since March.

“The Mozambican employees of the service providers have expressed concern around the reported incidents of violence against Mozambicans and other foreign nationals in South Africa, and are also protesting about the presence of South African employees of the service providers working on the project,” Sasol spokesman Alex Anderson said on Thursday.

Core operations at the central processing facility in the country, however, will continue.

“We are taking necessary precautions to ensure the safety of all personnel and will continue to facilitate engagement with all parties involved and the relevant authorities to work towards an amicable solution,” Anderson said.

Mozambican immigrant Ernesto Alfabeto Nhamuave was set alight and was among those who died in xenophobic attacks in Reiger Park outside Boksburg in May 2008.

Meanwhile, Zambian Pan Africanist leader Akashambatwa Mbikusita-Lewanika and a group of concerned Malawians have called for a boycott of all South African products and businesses including Shoprite, Game, Pep and the Inter Cape bus service. They also called for a boycott on SAA, while Mbikusita-Lewanika called for South Africa to be expelled from the African Union.

The Malawian group called the spate of recent attacks against foreign nationals the new form of apartheid in the country.

“The disgusting, pathetic new apartheid order is back in South Africa. The only crime they’re earning this victimisation for is for being foreign citizens . . . This is a qualification that natives of South Africa, not immigration officers, have used to brutalise migrants and the reality on the ground is shockingly inhumane,” the group said in statement.

Amnesty International slammed the South African government for its failure to hold perpetrators of the senseless violence to account.

This week it emerged that not a single person has been prosecuted for the violence that swept through the country in 2008.

“We acknowledge that the police are conducting arrests. However, the authorities must launch full, transparent and independent investigations, and bring perpetrators to account. The prevailing culture of impunity must be stopped,” Amnesty International-SA executive director Sicel’mpilo Shange-Buthane said in a statement.

Sources: Business Day, Lusaka Times, Nyasa Times