Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe on Wednesday welcomed Walmart to invest in South Africa, as the U.S. retail giant is awaiting ruling from the Competition Appeals Court (CAC) over its merger with local retailer Massmart Holdings.
The government is pleased that Walmart has chosen to invest in South Africa, Motlanthe told Parliament.
"The point is that they have gone through everything. They have done a very thorough assessment, they have been through the Competition Tribunal and they were given the thumbs up.
"What they (Walmart) are saying is that all investors must come to SA. We agree (with Walmart) and are very happy that this is what they have done."
Motlanthe was speaking amid reports that South Africa had seen a decline in foreign direct investment which had fallen 70 percent from 2009 to 2010.
Motlanthe praised Walmart for its investment and for the fact that it had done a country assessment.
"This means that no other American company needs to do such an assessment," he said.
The deputy president made no mention that three cabinet ministers had instituted a court action to have stronger conditions set for the 16.5-billion-rand (about 2.1-billion-U.S.- dollar) merger between Walmart and Massmart.
The joint appeal was filed by Minister of Economic Development Ebrahim Patel, Minister of Trade and Industry Rob Davies and Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry Tina Joemat- Pettersson in support of a trade union's demands to set tougher conditions for the merger.
In their court application, the three ministers have claimed that Walmart's entry would lead to a loss of manufacturing capability and threaten food security.
The CAC heard the case in October and is still to make a ruling on the appeal of the Competition Tribunal's conditional approval of Walmart's acquisition of 51 percent of Massmart.
The Competition Tribunal ruled on May 31 that Walmart could proceed with its plan to merge Massmart on conditions that no jobs were cut for two years and the companies set up a 100-million-rand (12.6-million-dollar) fund to assist local suppliers.
But the South African government said the conditions were inadequate and would result in a massive influx of imports that would undermine manufacturing output.
Walmart has threatened to take legal action at the World Trade Organization (WTO) over its procurement of Massmart.
Walmart could approach the U. S. government to seek WTO relief from any procurement conditions imposed on Walmart-controlled Massmart, according to Walmart's lawyers.