- PRETORIA, South Africa (Reuters)
- It was a moment that could only happen when a rock star and a former
captain of industry team up to check out operations in an industrial plant.
- As Irish rocker Bono and U.S. Treasury Secretary Paul
O'Neill toured a huge Ford Motor Co. plant near Pretoria on Friday, the
pungent odour of marijuana smoke attracted the attention of some of their
- A Ford representative confirmed some of the 3,500 employees
at the cavernous plant did smoke the herb.
- The plant was described by Ford as the largest assembly
plant in the Southern Hemisphere. It was one O'Neill wanted to highlight
for having a model plan to test and offer treatment for HIV/AIDS-afflicted
- When a reporter asked a Ford official whether marijuana
smoking affected efficiency, both Bono and O'Neill expressed interest that
some workers smoked it.
- "They do?" a surprised O'Neill interjected.
"What do I know? That's something I don't know anything about."
- The Ford official said the practice was not unusual at
a huge industrial plant and indicated there was some tolerance as long
as safety was not jeopardised.
- Bono took it coolly.
- "I was getting off on the diesel fumes myself,"
- The two are halfway through a four-country tour of Ghana,
South Africa, Uganda and Ethiopia, meeting government officials but also
touring businesses, hospitals and schools.
- They spent part of Friday afternoon in impoverished Soweto,
on the outskirts of Johannesburg. Their mission is to find out why so much
past aid spending so little advanced living conditions and how that might
be changed in future.