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General Motors (GM) announced last week that after more than 90 years, it would take leave of its operations in SA. The people of the Mandela Bay area can testify how prominent a feature of society the firm has become in that region. Before saying adieu and waxing lyrical about the role of GM in the "economic life" of the Eastern Cape and its component industry, we might want to be more circumspect. The abrupt exit by the car manufacturer could not have come at a worse time. GM’s history in SA and its implicit benefit from the regulated cheap labour economy of apartheid as well as its role in providing the security forces with Bedford trucks is far from pleasant for the majority. These trucks (used by the police, the army and the security branch to patrol and suppress dissent in townships) by 1986 constituted 10% of the vehicles GM supplied to the apartheid government. The departing firm went further in aiding and abetting the minority regime; it shared information on union leaders ...

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