This is life GM. But not as we know it.

It was perhaps naïve to hope that the impact of all the musical chairs at the National Treasury would not spill beyond the bureaucrats and political fat cats.    But then came the ratings downgrades, and yet more political shit with the re-deployment to Eskom of disgraced, tearful CEO Brian Molefe.

And now the news from General Motors.  They are off; leaving SA.

Bugger.

Just as every bit of news of new investment in the auto industry, or in any other branch of manufacturing, should be seen as a vote of confidence in SA, so equally must we worry about withdrawal.

I remember from my time in PE, at school in the late 1960s, that some of my schoolmates were American, their dads working in the auto industry which was even then an important part of the City’s economic infrastructure.   The horrors of apartheid led to some withdrawals from the country, but GM’s return was a blessing.

Is this an isolated problem?   Nope.  Just last month, an important corporate deal involving Pioneer foods collapsed.  And what of the many discussions which take place all the time below the radar, with companies looking at fresh investment in South Africa, or in expansion here?

How many of these investments are turning sour because President Zuma and his cohorts are messing up investor confidence as fast as they mess up the economy.

Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies is due to deliver his Budget Speech next week, when he will, no doubt, give an update on the billions of rand in incentives which are paid each year to anchor global auto firms in South Africa.

He may be reluctant to express concern at this latest GM bad news, but he must be worried.   As should we all be.

Tweets of the Day

Cirha (@MtikiCVU):  General Motors leaving SA is a huge loss for a country plagued with high rates of unemployment and slow economic growth.

Michael Jordaan (@MichaelJordaan):  First Barclays (UK) and now General Motors (USA) decide to leave SA. Sad but as always it creates opportunity for others.

 

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