S.Africa's deputy president welcomes Wal-Mart deal

Reuters, Saturday 19 Nov 2011

Despite legal challenges for Wal-Mart's $2.4 billion investment in South Africa, the country's deputy president welcomed the American Retail giant entrance into the local market

South Africa's Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe was quoted as saying on Friday his government welcomed Wal-Mart's $2.4 billion acquisition of a local retailer, which is being challenged in court by government departments.

"We have welcomed the announcement by Wal-Mart to invest in South Africa," he was quoted as saying during a presentation at a local institute by the South African Press Association (SAPA).

"Wal-Mart has carried out an extensive assessment which gives us the thumbs up as a prime destination for foreign direct investment."

But the government has made Wal-Mart's acquisition of local retailer Massmart Holdings Ltd difficult.

The U.S. retail giant is awaiting judgement on appeals by the South African government and unions, which are seeking to block or attach conditions to the deal.

Attracting foreign investment is key to the government's drive to reduce unemployment, which officially stands at close to 25 per cent but most analysts say is really far higher.

SAPA also quoted Motlanthe as reiterating that there was no government policy to nationalise mines in the world's top platinum producer.

Foreign investors have been unnerved by nationalisation talk by radical elements of Motlanthe's ruling African National Congress (ANC).

But such talk is expected to fade after the ANC earlier this month expelled the leading advocate of nationalisation, youth league leader 

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