Trade & Industry minister concerned about job losses at General Motors


The Minister of Trade and Industry, Rob Davies has expressed concern about the number of jobs that could be lost and indirectly affected by General Motors’ exit from South Africa.

The US car making giant announced it would leave the country by the end of this year, which could affect 1 500 people employed by it.

“Minister Davies notes that the decision by General Motors is part of a broader, international strategic position by the company to exit certain markets and focus the organisation on target markets and products…It should also be noted that the emerging global geo-political dynamics might have a bearing on some business decisions being made such as the recent confirmation of additional investment in the US coupled with further move of some parts production from Mexico,” the department said.

The department added that although it does not welcome this decision, it believes that the future of the industry is positive as automotive industry stakeholders are finalising a master plan for South Africa, with a view to growing domestic vehicle production volume and local value addition.

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An announcement on the final program can be expected early 2018 latest and will cover the period post 2020.

“The DTI will therefore continue to work with all stakeholders to mitigate the impact of this exit. These initiatives include encouraging the strengthening of the presence, including vehicle assembly, of Isuzu who has been partnering GMSA in South Africa,” Davies said.

Davies also expressed confidence that recent announced investments in Coega should save jobs in automotive production in the Nelson Mandela Bay Metropolitan area, and that anticipated investments and localisation by the remaining vehicle producers will have a positive effect going forward.

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