‘Try the power of pos­i­tive think­ing’

Sunday Times - - Front Page - By ZINGISA MVUMVU, APHIWE DEKLERK and BONGANI FUZILE

● The per­pet­ual neg­a­tiv­ity about SA among busi­ness lead­ers is a stum­bling block to growth and in­vest­ment, says Adrian Gore, win­ner of the Sun­day Times Top 100 Life­time Achieve­ment Award.

In his speech at the awards on Thurs­day night, the Dis­cov­ery CEO said elim­i­nat­ing this neg­a­tiv­ity would help to re­verse the down­ward eco­nomic spi­ral and boost em­ploy­ment lev­els.

Gore cred­ited the South African mar­ket for Dis­cov­ery’s cor­po­rate suc­cess.

“The is­sue is the power of our coun­try, the power of pa­tri­o­tism. I re­ally be­lieve and know that my suc­cess is be­cause of the coun­try, not de­spite it. That is very

im­por­tant. A lot of peo­ple are in a neg­a­tive nar­ra­tive all the time and think they would be great and do it any­where; I could not have,” said Gore.

“The prob­lem is that we be­lieve in­her­ently that our en­vi­ron­ment is get­ting worse. The ter­ri­ble thing is that we are con­fi­dent about our in­cor­rect­ness and we are cer­tain things are get­ting worse when in ac­tual fact they are not.

“GDP is big­ger than it was at the start of democ­racy and the mid­dle class is big­ger and more black,” he said.

“We hold on to the view that things are in de­cline and that is a ter­ri­ble thing be­cause it in­cites a prob­lem-cen­tric lead­er­ship style.”

The sen­ti­ment was echoed by Capitec Bank CEO Ger­rie Fourie.

“I am extremely pos­i­tive [about] SA,” he said.

“I be­lieve there is a great fu­ture. If I look at what’s hap­pened this year, the first few months we were all pos­i­tive and then sud­denly we go neg­a­tive and the last cou­ple of weeks we are pos­i­tive again.

“Let’s spend all our en­ergy on pos­i­tiv­ity, leave the neg­a­tive things out,” said Fourie.

“We must work with govern­ment to un­lock the full po­ten­tial of 59-mil­lion peo­ple in SA. That’s our re­spon­si­bil­ity as lead­ers.”

Capitec, founded in March 2001, was named the 2018 Sun­day Times Top Com­pany for its share per­for­mance on the JSE over the past five years.

The guest speaker at the event, Is­raeli en­tre­pre­neur Uri Levine, who co-founded the nav­i­ga­tion app Waze, em­pha­sised the need for re­silience among start-ups.

“If you are afraid of fail­ing, in re­al­ity you have al­ready failed … this is what we need to teach the next gen­er­a­tion. We need to teach them to fail and when they fail and get up, they will ac­tu­ally be more em­pow­ered to make an­other try to do some­thing else.”

No-one re­ceived the Busi­ness Leader of the Year Award this year, be­cause, Sun­day Times edi­tor Bongani Siqoko said, there were few stand-out nom­i­nees.

“This was due largely to a chaotic year for many cor­po­rates and poor eco­nomic and mar­ket con­di­tions,” he said.

“We look for­ward to award­ing it again in 2019 as SA busi­ness re­cov­ers from what has been a tough 2018.”

Those who at­tended the event in Park­town, Jo­han­nes­burg, in­cluded for­mer FirstRand head Lau­rie Dip­pe­naar, for­mer fi­nance min­is­ter Trevor Manuel, Absa CEO Maria Ramos, for­mer Ned­bank chair Reuel Khoza and me­dia owner Given Mkhari.

● ➽ See Busi­ness Times & Top 100 Pullout

Dis­cov­ery CEO Adrian Gore

Sun­day Times edi­tor Bongani Siqoko with Capitec Bank CEO Ger­rie Fourie.

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