Singing the praises of the Men in Black this week were the imbongis over at Business Report, who in a paean to foreign investment, singled out Massmart for special attention. “The Walmart-Massmart deal brought jobs, skills development and more consumer choice to South Africa,” they exclaimed. “The deal has also brought massive benefits to local companies by opening doors to export deals to them,” they raved, citing the example of Umlilo Charcoal, which last year shipped a container of the combustible stuff to a Chilean Walmart partner. In other Massmart news, they’re thinking of relocating the Game Head Office to Joburg, giving it greater proximity to suppliers and the other Massmart divisions, but dealing a blow to its KZN heartland, where it first raised the proud Magenta banner sometime in the 70’s.
Comment: At a business performance and infrastructure consolidation level – a solid move – but the price? The loss of a significant corporate head office in Durban, and the jobs of those unable to relocate; this is the dilemma facing corporate business in the 21st century. How do we balance looking after our people and delivering the profit numbers to meet the demands of financial analysts and shareholders? This remains the challenge.