Government opposed the merger between Walmart and Massmart because it would lead to job losses and a flood of cheap imports which would destroy small businesses and undermine industrial development, director general of the economic development department Richard Levin told MPs this afternoon.
Three government departments lodged an appeal against the merger with the Competition Appeal Court on Wednesday and Mr Levin outlined the reasons for the surprise move during a briefing to Parliaments economic development portfolio committee. The committee is holding public hearings into the merger.
Mr Levin told the committee that the departments of economic development, trade and industry and agriculture believed the merger would undermine governments objectives to increase employment, considering that SA – with an official unemployment rate of 25% – was ranked among the ten countries in the world with the lowest level of employment. Job creation was a key government priority and a key objective of its industrial policy action plan.