The National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (NUMSA) has been angered by
reports that Daimler Chrysler is considering to pull out if government failed to offer new
Daimler Chrysler SA chairman Hansgeorg Neifer warned reportedly that it would be
difficult for the European car manufacturer to continue its operations in the country in the
absence of the Motor Industry Development Programme (MIDP).
“We believe Daimler Chrysler SA is making a big issue out of the MIDP when it
encountered a myriad of problems in its mother plant in Germany. It is because of those
problems that they mandated South African management to cut labour and wage costs,
hence the winding down of its Pinetown, Durban plant followed,” Herman Ntlatleng,
NUMSA sector coordinator for auto and tyre manufacturing said.
While the government support programme has given benefits amounting to more than
R55 billion to car manufacturers, these did not result in job creation. And, strangely
enough the most assembly plants introduced automation processes which resulted in
massive job losses when MIDP was put in place, he said.
Other car manufacturers, meanwhile, were extremely cautious in making pronouncement
before the MIDP was reviewed in 2012, but hinged their hopes on government
considering of other alternative incentives compliant with the World Trade Organisation
(WTO) and the General Agreement on Trade and Tariffs (GATT) rules.
BMW SA’s Richard Carter has assured NUMSA that the company has invested huge
amounts of money into local operations to ensure efficiency and that they were highly
competitiveness, knowing very well that the MIDP would not be around for ever.
“It is very unlikely that the government would not consider a range of other incentives
within the bounds of WTO and GATT. These include halving 30% import duties to
ensure there were no jobs lost and to compensate for geographic distance costs, raw
materials and other logistical costs,” Carter said.
Ford SA also indicated that it has contributed plans to review of MIDP to ensure business
was not negatively affected by the phasing out of the programme.
NUMSA is deeply concerned that Daimler Chrysler is drumming up support for other six
car manufacturers to follow suit when it is hiding its problems in Germany.
NUMSA national information officer
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