Wal-Mart’s Latest Victim: South Africa

May 9, 2011  |  

By J. Smith

First, let me say that I despise Wal-Mart and its imperialistic business model. The company will infiltrate a town or city, force local retailers out of business, pay their employee’s wages and benefits that are below industry standards, manufacture its products outside of the United States and then silence its critics. The prices may be dirt cheap, but I’ll pay an extra dollar for lotion elsewhere if it means fighting corporate manifest destiny.

South Africa and its already fragile economy may soon be conquered by the low price giant. According to the Wall Street Journal, Wal-Mart Stores Inc.’s acquisition of African retailer Massmart Holdings Ltd. could cause thousands of job losses and worsening labor conditions if the deal is allowed to go through. The South African government is arguing against their presence in the country at a competition tribunal that begins today. If the deal is successful, it would be the company’s first entry into the continent.

“A report commissioned by South Africa’s economic development and agricultural departments estimates that if just 1% of Massmart’s purchases shifts to imports away from domestic suppliers, it could lead to roughly 4,000 job losses in South African industry,” The Journal reports. “The report also says research into Wal-Mart’s other businesses around the world indicate that the company tends to set employee payments and benefits below the industry norm.”

Please, enough Western and corporate rape on the African continent. And please, enough compliance with it from African business leaders. In January, Massmart said 98 percent of its shareholders voted in favor of the deal to sell at 51 percent stake to Wal-Mart, the Journal reports, despite the potentially disastrous affect it would have on jobs and the economy.

Boycott, anyone?

Read more: South Africa Warns on Wal-Mart’s Entry


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