The South African government and labour unions are to voice their concerns over Wal-Mart Stores’ purchase of a majority stake in Massmart, through an appeal court hearing in October.

The announcement comes after three government ministries and several trade unions formally appealed the Competition Tribunal’s conditional approval of the deal. Last week, the South African government reportedly called for Wal-Mart to improve the supplier development fund the company said it would set up after securing approval for the purchase.

South Africa’s Minister of Economic Development, the Minister of Trade and Industry and the Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries filed a petition with the tribunal on 21 July seeking a review of the decision.

In a statement on Tuesday (2 August), the government said that the main risk to South Africa that the merger poses is an increase in imports by Walmart/Massmart causing a decline in local manufacturing and production, across a range of consumer products including in agro-processing, the furniture industry, electronics, plastics and household goods as well as clothing and textiles.

This, in turn, it said, will lead to the closure of a number of local businesses and local job losses.

In a joint statement this week however, Wal-Mart and Massmart said they “welcome the opportunity” to deliver their perspective in “the rigorous, inclusive and inherently fair framework of the Competition Act”, during the forthcoming appeal court proceedings.

“Equally, we will gladly work in partnership with all stakeholders to contribute positively to job creation in South Africa,” they added.