US investors aren't fretting about the (renewed) threat of Apartheid reparations lawsuits, at least according to our Trade and Industry minister.
Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies says broadening regional integration is now a major priority for the Southern African Development Community, and it wants to expand the free trade area. He returned from a trip to the US last night, saying he got a positive reception there, when he spoke at various seminars and panel discussions that looked at investment in Africa.
When asked about claims Government was responding slowly to the crisis in manufacturing, particularly in the motor sector, he said "significant work" was already underway. But he pointed out that he did have to wait for the budgetary process, because many of the measures being contemplated need to be made public during the Finance Minister's speech next year.
Davies also responded to a questions about the Apartheid court case in the US. Last week Government reversed its position, and wrote a letter to the court in New York, saying it did now support the bid by Apartheid victims to sue American companies who allegedly helped the Apartheid government. "Were American investors concerned by this reversal?" I asked. He’s not worried at all, saying this was clearly "more of a concern to the press than to investors".
Davies was also upbeat because of an announcement today by BMW. It's plugging around R2.8-billion into its Rosslyn plant in Pretoria. BMW clearly has some kind of guarantee that the regulations around the motor industry will not affect it, if they change.
By Stephen Grootes
(Grootes is EWN reporter, www.ewn.co.za)