War on Walmart!

2011-06-03 08:45

Simon Williamson

The other day I was driving home in my Toyota from the Shell petrol station and stopped at KFC. I was damn hungry after being at the Virgin Active and there wasn’t enough Coca-Cola in the world to satisfy my thirst.

When I got home I realised I didn’t have any Surf so picked up my Bic and made a note in my Moleskin. Then I went to my PC and logged onto News24 and read all about how Massmart is being bought out by Walmart and how absolutely shocking it is.
Well I wasn’t having any of that! I immediately started writing a letter to the IOL-owned publication The Star. I picked up my Android-powered Samsung and called my friend - got a great deal on the device from Vodacom - but she wasn’t available as she is staying in the Radisson in Cape Town. She flew on British Airways just a day earlier.
It was tough to find someone with which to commiserate this news. I immediately dashed to Hooters where I drank a Heineken and smoked a Marlboro (lit with a Bic lighter) to relax. My Adidas gym shoes were dirty so I was wearing my Crocs which I bought at Woolworths. Thank goodness the boxing was on ESPN so I had something to distract me from this Walmart business.
My mate Brendan arrived and we chatted about how the FIFA World Cup sponsored by Adidas was such a great success last year. He pulled out his Blackberry and checked his balance quickly - ABSA (owned by Barclays) makes it so easy nowadays. His American Express payment went through and so he offered to pay for dinner. Oh sorry, it’s not Amex it’s a Visa. I mean a Mastercard. I mean a Diners.
After dinner I slunk home and had a nice cup of Milo (a Nestle product) with Parmalat milk before bed.
Thank goodness for the stress-relieving timeout with Brendan. I was so worried about foreign intervention and ownership screwing with the South African economy.

- Simon Williamson is a freelance writer. 

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Disclaimer: News24 encourages freedom of speech and the expression of diverse views. The views of columnists published on News24 are therefore their own and do not necessarily represent the views of News24.

  • CamsComment - 2011-06-03 08:56

    Nice one Simon. I can just picture these bigwigs complaining about the whole situation while being driven around in ther big 745 BMW's on their phones and laptops wearing designer suits and watches. LOL - no - ROLTFFLMBFAO!!!!!

  • gustav.swanepoel1 - 2011-06-03 08:57

    Absolutely brilliant! Well said! Dare I say: "Give that man a Bells!"?

      PAnzi_ne_ANC - 2011-06-03 11:01

      jack daniels..

  • CM - 2011-06-03 09:04


  • Shivermetimb - 2011-06-03 09:38

    You forgot to metion the bar stools at Hooters are made at City Deep from genuine SA pine.

  • KomboKitten - 2011-06-03 09:52

    you obviously have no idea of how badly kfc treat their chickens. you should look into it here: Id rather wage war on the cruelty of humanity.

      KomboKitten - 2011-06-03 09:54

      and the true agenda of nestle is sickening. the truth is out there, just look into it. i boycott all nestle and kfc products.

      zaflyaway - 2011-06-03 12:01

      And I boycot EVERYTHING! I'm too scared too leave home in case I have to use or buy anything NOT South African! It's scary. all these foreign things everywhere....

      pop101 - 2011-06-03 12:30

      Kombo, I this you missed the pot (point)...pee over.

      safather - 2011-06-03 14:24

      Talk about missing the point.

      spikytiger2001 - 2011-06-05 10:53

      KFC does not own or operate any poultry farms or processing facilities. Instead, it purchases chickens from, at any given time, approximately 16 different suppliers who collectively operate up to 52 facilities around the country. You should read up on snopes and get your facts straight lady...

  • Gandolf - 2011-06-03 10:44


  • Robi - 2011-06-03 11:17

    *Slow clap*

  • Boeretroos - 2011-06-03 11:43

    Ag nee swaer - watse twak praat jy man - wallies sal goed wees vir SA - hoor hulle gaan net werk aan wittes gee.

      Mr D - 2011-06-04 07:01

      voken hoogtyd ek het genoeg gehad van die kak

  • allnet - 2011-06-03 11:55

    This country has been built by foreigners while the locals rested under a tree or drank brandy ... but its ok if Liberty Life and SAB buy and invest in foreign countries ... mmhhhh don't worry we won't take your women and land we usually pay for it before we do...

  • Byron - 2011-06-03 11:59

    This is an incredible post - well done

  • bollie - 2011-06-03 12:19


  • pop101 - 2011-06-03 12:28

    Bwahahaha, classic. May I copy and paste?

  • Robert McNamara - 2011-06-03 12:28

    i have no problem with foreign business coming into South Africa. I welcome it and i agree it would be very hypocritical to scream against it. But you have to look at each business or company on it's own merits. Wall Mart has a very dubious reputation in it's own country, with many towns refusing Wall Mart to establish itself there. Not to mention it's poor treatment of it's own employees. We need to keep a close eye on them.

      oldpilot - 2011-06-08 18:56

      The desire of towns in the US to stop Walmart opening up is nothing to do with treatment of employees, or Walmart's 'reputation'. It is all about keeping out competitive forces which many small-town businesses cannot fight. And just who do you think runs these small town-councils in the US - why, yes - the small-town business owners, who else? Duh!

  • kimstories - 2011-06-03 12:39

    oh you are clever

      Together - 2011-06-03 13:54

      Lovely one, Simon.

  • Johan - 2011-06-03 12:44

    It's interesting that you can buy a can of imported Coke (still tastes like Coke)at Barons in East London for R4.00 while the LOCAL product costs R6.50 and tastes like dishwater.

  • loodpunt - 2011-06-03 12:46

    and now listen to all the people blindly scream how brilliant this article is... the point is, wallmart is a massive FOREIGN company. Once again, on a monumental scale, we're going to spend our Rands on benefiting a FOREIGN company, and thus country. The fat cats you're talking about in their BMW 745's are driving them in the USA!

      Together - 2011-06-03 14:26

      except for all the ones driving them in Sandton and the fancy suburbs of Durban..

      Reppie - 2011-06-03 15:18

      And you point being? This is a foreign investment into SA. So what? There is "theoretically" more advantages as disadvantages. What exactly are you scared off regarding a foreign investment?

      Just Greg - 2011-06-03 17:58

      Heaven forbid all the JOBS that will be created and the TAXES paid to the Govt.

      Denise - 2011-06-07 08:41

      Not to mention that the buying power of Walmart means that they drive prices down for the consumer in areas where they do open shops!! I imagine this is part of the objection by local businesses but personally I cant wait to see if they do it here! Look at your last grocery bill and maybe you will feel the same! R11.19 for sliced bread! R19 for 2l milk! R33 for 2l of sunflower oil! Ridiculous - our local supermarkets deserve to get their butts kicked! Bring on Walmart!

  • Louis Cipher - 2011-06-03 12:51

    Enjoyed the article, but after reading some of the comments, i think we need to import Sense of Humours. Maybe Wallmart will stock it.

      Jo - 2011-06-03 14:00

      Only in the frozen section, Louis. And I think that Being Able To Laugh At Yourself may be considered colonialist and anti-revolutionary - if the neo ANC can't get the media muzzled with the info bill, they'll probably put forward a Cut the Comedy bill.

      Olavin - 2011-06-04 06:39

      It will be cheap humour from China, like everything else Walmart stocks.

  • Riaan - 2011-06-03 13:00


  • Ross - 2011-06-03 13:00

    Wallmart is paying R 16,5 billion for a bag full of militant labourers who will be toy-toying in no time. Don't rule out collateral damage. Poor suckers.

  • Jo - 2011-06-03 13:58

    A very funny reality check! Not to mention Dolce AND Gabana, BMW's Mini or Gucci sunglasses :)

  • safather - 2011-06-03 14:23

    Very well put, nicely written.

  • unrealchris - 2011-06-03 14:37

    LOL, thanks for the insight! Sometimes people forget about investments in SA!

  • Fran - 2011-06-03 15:18

    Oh Simon! You always help me to see things from a different perspective.

  • gmw - 2011-06-03 15:27

    There is nothing South African about south africa. We are a bunch of sell outs to the foreigners. Our land and companies are being systematically sold off. There will be nothing left for our kids. GW

  • gmw - 2011-06-03 15:33

    There is nothing South African about South Africa. Our land and resources are slowly being sold off to foreigners. Wake up.

  • Eish! - 2011-06-03 17:59

    Excellent - very funny!

  • Marc-Andre - 2011-06-03 22:37

    I'm afraid your send-up is too subtle for some people!

  • james4usa - 2011-06-03 23:27

    If WM quits SA consumer will suffer.

  • capetonian - 2011-06-04 15:04

    I listened to a phone-in "economist" on Cape Talk the other day saying just how terrible Walmart was going to be for South Africa. Didn't have the opportunity to call them because I wanted to ask her about how P n P started here and what happened to all the corner grocery shops as a result of their "discounting" to give us, the consumer, a better deal!! Why is Walmart amongst the biggest retailers in the world? It's not just because they offer great prices but also because their service is amongst the best. Walk around P n P stores today and you see staff standing around all over the show, certainly not the most productive environment possible. And that's what Walmart will bring to us...the COSATU swearword - PRODUCTIVITY!! Don't believe I saw it mentioned in the antagonistic attitude displayed by them during the discussions around Walmart's buying into Massmart

  • Proffie - 2011-06-04 18:18

    Didnt Telkom sell off their share of vodacom for a few billion? I see no sign of that windfall anywhere. Didnt ABSA sell 30% of the bank to Barclays of the UK? I dont see any sign of that windfall either. Now Massmart...sold a percentage to Wal-mart for 16 odd billion. Bet you won't see where that money goes either.

  • Marius Dumas - 2011-06-04 21:54

    Great article, I can see how US companies are taking over businesses all over. This might be the new world order Bush and Obama have been referring to. The profits will go to the US and the labour to South Africa. They will do the same as with the minerals in the rest of Africa, take the profits and give the dirty work to the 3rd world countries. Walmart buying over Massmart is no form of foreign investment, it’s foreign ownership, this is not the “investment” we would like to see for all our major companies in South Africa. More cheap labour for South African’s, more big profits going towarda foreign directors, is no solution for South Africa’s problems.

  • Nomfundo - 2011-06-05 07:28

    A sad case of making false parallels. It's not about the foreign nature of Walmart, it's about a business model, what makes Walmar,t Walmart that is not compatible with a country with an estimated, very estimated 25% unemployment rate. You might want to look that up...

  • melanie.steyn - 2011-06-05 09:18

    Too glib, pal. Walmart is in a class of its own and will destroy jobs and livelihoods in the long run. Your point is taken but the conclusion should be, When do we draw a line and rely on our own?

  • Jon Doe - 2011-06-05 10:15

    Good article buddy! Took the words out of my mouth

  • DoublySalmon - 2011-06-06 07:46

    Fair competition always scare Africans in to toy-toying down the street.

  • Denise - 2011-06-07 08:30

    lololol excellent!

  • - 2011-06-08 14:06

    Issues like this one need to be fully debated, preferably by senior leadership of our political parties. Failing that (which is likely) the people need to take up the challenge. In this vein our new site WWW.WECANDOBETTER.CO.ZA was born. We publish quality, pier reviewed, user driven opinion pieces that are aimed at sparking debate. In conjunction we have a user friendly and easy to use comment/ forum system. You can use or FACEBOOK and TWITTER log in details, allowing you to by pass any annoy registration system. We believe this user driven system will allow for some great debates. Regards Stanley Black

  • oldpilot - 2011-06-08 18:50

    Walmart in SA will be the best event for boosting compeitition - right now we are being screwed over daily by many large suppliers - and seemingly many do not understand this fact, living in a fool's paradise!

  • Karel - 2011-06-10 02:04

    Remember to ask for food of local provenance. Dont enjoy cheap imported chicken and beef with growth hormones and antibiotics fed on GM wheat and farmed in factory farms laughing because it was cheaper. Are the cheap imported clothes ruining our local cotton, textile and clothing industries. If the vegetables are cheaper is farmer being paid enough to cover his costs. In UK ASDA threatens to cut contract with farmer if his crops fail and the total volume of order is not met and farmer pays for the 2 for 1 deals, excess is bought below cost and if the potatoes are 'too knobly' the crop is rejected. Remember to support the little local convenience shop as they have been there for a long time and often know you by name and you know they purchase some local produce and the money is being circulated back into your community. Watch out for monsanto products and ask why USA has obesity pandemic. Enjoy the cheap food!!!!!

  • Joel - 2011-06-11 16:05

    Is there any point to commenting on ‘VERKRAMP 24’s’ site. The almost demonic loathing for unions & the ANC means that slander & denial prevail. The warring writer’s ironic argument obscures a very telling difference. Any local retailer of foreign brands (& they abound) is locally domiciled & keeps a fair percentage of the gains begotten. WALMART exceeds all before it in power and with 51% control (& complete acquisition to follow later) it will slower expatriate wealth to offset its diminishing (debt paralysed) US return. As for WALMART cost cutting acumen? The frontal lobotomised crowd champion this profit mongering entity as if it where a caring charity. A news flash! They give you lower prices by stealing 'profit margins' from labour, from the supplier, from the exploited & ultimately, by concentrating wealth, they steal your children’s future – but you can’t or don’t see the big picture because right now no one’s undercutting your salary are they!

  • Nadine - 2011-06-12 17:03

    Haha - brilliant. You know, we have always been exposed to foreign competition - if you don't think that a R16.5 billion foreign deal will be good for the economy of SA, then please take an Economics class...

  • Nadine - 2011-06-12 17:07

    Haha - brilliant! If you don't think that a R16.5 Billion foreign deal will be great for the SA economy (FDI by a giant with an INCOME 50% larger than the SA GDP!!!), then PLEASE do a 'Economics for Dummies' class... and soon!

  • Stanley Black - 2011-06-15 13:17

    Stories like this one are issues that affect every South African. As a result I feel the best way to deal with them is with the sharing of opinion and thereafter the debate of said opinion. In the spirit of us we have created an opinion and debate site called WECANDOBETTER.CO.ZA. Submitting articles is easy and requires no registration. The forum system is just as easy to use and you can sign in as a guest or use your TWITTER or FACEBOOK accounts to log into it.

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