JOHANNESBURG – General Motors’ announcement on Thursday, that it was withdrawing its manufacturing facilities from the South African market is a vote of no confidence in government’s leadership of the economy, the Democratic Alliance (DA) said.
DA’s spokesperson on trade and industry, Geordin Hill-Lewis, said GM’s withdrawal was just one of a growing list of foreign investors who are losing confidence in South Africa’s struggling economy.
“The DA will now write to the Minister of Trade and Industry, Rob Davies, to call on him to act decisively in order to prevent further potential job losses as a result of foreign investors pulling out of the country’s automotive sector,” Hill-Lewis said in a statement.
“The DA will also request that the Minister report back to Parliament on what the specific reasons are for GM deciding to withdraw from South Africa, and possible solutions to bring this concerning trend to an end.”
According to General Motors (GM) South Africa (Pty), it is withdrawing because the South Africa can no longer “provide GM with the expected returns of other global investment opportunities”.
As a result, production and sales of all Chevrolet models will cease, and Isuzu will take over the firm’s operations in Port Elizabeth. Isuzu will also be taking over the parts centre because it will be manufacturing trucks and commercial vehicles.
GM currently employs 2,000 South Africans at its plant in Port Elizabeth, their withdrawal is likely to threaten the livelihoods of these workers.
Hill-Lewis said government had failed to create a climate conducive to attracting investment but was going out of its way to chase investment away.
“The Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba has failed to strengthen investor confidence in our economy,” Hill-Lewis said.
“The captured and ineffectual [African National Congress] ANC government with its empty slogans have completely destroyed our economic prospects, and ordinary South Africans, particularly the poor and vulnerable, are left to bear the brunt.”
Meanwhile, the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa) said it was “shocked at the news” that GM intends to pull the plug on its operations in South Africa, saying that there was no consultation with the union.
Davies on Thursday said he has learnt of the announcement by General Motors (GM) South Africa (Pty)Ltd to cease some of their operations in South Africa with “regret and concern”.
African News Agency