Delta's transition to General Motors SA become official on Wednesday when the SA Competition Tribunal approved GM's purchase of the remaining 51 per cent of the Port Elizabeth company.

Delta's transition to General Motors SA become official on Wednesday when the SA Competition Tribunal approved GM's purchase of the remaining 51 per cent of the Port Elizabeth company.


Maureen Kempston Darkes, GM group vice president and president of the company's Latin America, Africa, Middle East region said, "We've acquired a company that is well positioned in an important growth market for GM. With its sound economic and political grounding, South Africa will serve as the platform for our aggressive growth on the African continent."


Delta announced in October that General Motors had entered into negotiations with Delta with a view to acquiring the remaining 51 per cent of the manufacturer. GM purchased 49 per cent of Delta in 1997 and, following the conclusion of the recent negotiations, the matter was referred to the Competitions Commission.


CARtoday.com reported last week that Delta managing director Willie van Wyk, who "had elected to leave the company in order to pursue other interests", would be replaced by Bob Socia (now president and managing director of General Motors South Africa (GMSA). Jeffrey McGuire was also appointed director of human resources of GMSA, General Motors said.


Kempston Darkes on Wednesday led a delegation that met with president Thabo Mbeki at his offices in Pretoria. The group discussed the future of the South African automotive industry and GM's full return to the country, a GMSA spokesman said.


Mbeki said: "I am very pleased to welcome General Motors back to South Africa. I am particularly pleased with GM's objective of establishing South Africa as its platform for participating in other growth markets in Africa.


"This is in line with the objectives of the New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD), which strives to achieve the development and recovery of the African continent. I appreciate the support of one of the largest automotive manufacturers in the world in this endeavour," he added.


Meanwhile, Andre van Rooyen, who had been Delta's director of exports and allied businesses since 1991, said that he would leave the company at the end of February. GMSA then announced that the vehicle line platform management department and the exports and allied businesses departments would merge.


Ian Nicholls, who was Delta's director of vehicle line platform management, would head the new unit of GMSA. The unit's primary purpose would be to drive the company's export effort of both vehicles and components.