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South Africa’s unions flex their muscles

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After South Africa’s unions came close to blocking the listing of mobile phone group Vodacom, new President Jacob Zuma may want to keep a closer eye on his left wing allies.

The attempt to sink the $10 billion bourse debut of Vodacom, which went ahead on Monday after an 11th-hour court ruling, hurt the rand currency and revived investor concerns over Zuma.

There was no doubt the bid had undermined Zuma’s strenuous efforts before last month’s election to assure business and investors that there would be no policy shift towards his left wing allies once he took office.

Lawyers for the government opposed union federation COSATU’s attempt to stop the listing in court and made clear the Zuma administration stood by what had been agreed already.

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