South Africa 19.5.2017 01:19 pm

Zuma’s Cabinet reshuffle to blame for GM exit – Solidarity

South African President, Jacob Zuma. Picture: Neil McCartney

South African President, Jacob Zuma. Picture: Neil McCartney

GM announced on Thursday that it was withdrawing from SA because the market could no longer provide it with the expected returns.

President Jacob Zuma should shoulder the blame for General Motors South Africa ceasing its operations in the country, union Solidarity said on Friday.

“GM’s withdrawal from the South African market comes as a ripple effect of President Zuma’s ill-considered reshuffling of the Cabinet in April this year,” said Solidarity’s deputy secretary for the metal and engineering industry, Marius Croucamp.

“We are beginning to see the negative impact of this downgrade, fewer investments and lower economic growth are but the start.”

GM announced on Thursday that it was withdrawing from South Africa because the market could no longer provide it with the expected returns.

As a result, production and sales of all Chevrolet models will be phased out, 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, and its withdrawal is likely to threaten the livelihoods of these workers and their families.

In pursuit of better global opportunities, GM this year pulled out of Europe (Opel/Vauxhall brand sold to Peugeot SA).

Before that it closed plants in Indonesia in 2015 and Halol, India, in April 2017.

Croucamp said his union was “apprehensive about an exodus of other larger companies as a result of poor political and economic policies that are currently in place”.

“The economic and social consequences of GM’s withdrawal give cause for major concern,” said Croucamp.

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