D-Day for assault on 'devastating' Walmart deal

The government is set to appeal for a review of the Massmart-Walmart merger today, arguing the deal will have a potentially devastating effect on local jobs.

An appeal by the government for a review of the Massmart Walmart merger is expected to be heard on Thursday.

Earlier this month, four departments—agriculture, forestry and fisheries; economic development; and trade and industry—filed their heads of argument in the Walmart Massmart merger case.

They argued that Walmart’s acquisition of Massmart can have a “potentially devastating” effect on local jobs.

They want the transaction to be sent back to the Competition Tribunal for proper consideration and more effective conditions to be imposed.

The government has argued that the merging parties will increase imports, relying on Walmart’s vast and extensive international procurement capability.

Economic Development Minister Ebrahim Patel raised concern that tens of thousands of jobs could be lost in the local factories that supply Massmart and other local retailers.

Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies said there was no evidence that Massmart would create 15 000 because of the merger, as it had advertised.

Agriculture Minister Tina Joemat-Pettersson said the implications of a displacement of local suppliers by Massmart would result in lost income and most likely the loss of jobs.

The three departments had asked the court to send the matter back to the Competition Tribunal for a more considered evaluation based on adequate information from the merger parties with a view to much stronger conditions being imposed.—Sapa

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