Nonprofit development organisations and the private sector met this week to discuss the plight of thousands of chicken industry workers who have been rendered jobless as a result of dumped chicken imports.
Dumped products – sold below the cost of production in the home country – have pushed the South African chicken industry into crisis, and thousands of jobs are at risk.
During the FairPlay Social Support Summit, held on August 2, a “Cry for Action” petition was finalised. It will be sent to President Jacob Zuma and Trade and Industry Minister Dr Rob Davies.
The FairPlay movement is a new, principle-based global initiative whose sole interest is to make available international experts to help stop the proliferation of dumping worldwide.
“We set out to address the plight of the thousands of South Africans who have lost their jobs because of dumping. Each job lost is a family in misery. Most of them have no other means of support, and finding new work, especially in rural areas, is very difficult in a country with one of the highest unemployment rates in the world,” FairPlay founder François Baird said.
Former Constitutional Court Judge Richard Goldstone called on government to act to prevent predatory dumping, which he defined as dumped imports that are designed to kill the local industry.
“If the facts establish predatory dumping – that the party or parties dumping have as their motive or one of their motives the destruction of South African competitors – then the rule of law and fair play in trade dictate that, on moral and legal grounds, action should be taken,” he said.
Chicken producer Country Bird CEO Marthinus Stander, meanwhile, said that, if the recent outbreak of bird flu on some farms in the country could be contained, and if swift and decisive action is taken by government to prevent the continued dumping of chicken, the South African chicken industry could grow.
“If government acts, we can halt or reduce future retrenchments. The reality is that the effects of the retrenchments that have already taken place will remain with us,” he noted.