Since the start of Cyril Ramaphosa’s presidency, the Chief Executive Officers (CEOS) of South African businesses have been expressing high optimism. They are certain that businesses and consumer confidence in South Africa would improve sooner than expected. This would lead to a positive economic growth which includes the creation of more job, steady rand, and an upgrade of the country’s debt.
Here are some of the quotes taken from Bloomberg interviews with heads of businesses in South Africa as their companies reported full- or half-year financial results
Ivan Glasenberg, Glencore Plc
Ivan Glasenberg is the chief executive officer of the world’s biggest commodities miner and trader, Glencore, He holds the biggest private stake of 8.4% in the company.He is the fifth wealthiest swiss Billionaire. Glencore produces cobalt and copper in several African countries which includes and Democratic Republic of Congo and Zambia.
“We know him. I think he’s going to be a very good president for the country. You can see it’s already having a favorable affect on the exchange rate and it will create hopefully more investment opportunities in the country,” said Ivan
“I believe the country will be more stable, will be more acceptable to foreign investment and I hope there will be more foreign investment in the country,” Ivan said further.
Mark Lamberti, Imperial Holdings Ltd.
Mark Lamberti is the CEO of logistics and transport company Imperial Holdings and former head of Transaction Capital and Massmart. Imperial Holdings is the sixth largest company by sales in South Africa. Imperial holding also has interests in retail, car rental, leasing, insurance, parts and industrial products distribution, and financial services.
“If the President delivers on the kinds of things he spoke about in the state of nation address — and I have no reason to believe he won’t over time — I think you will see a level of regulatory certainty that we never had before, which makes it easier to make an investment decision.
“You will definitely see an uptick in consumer and business confidence. You will see people investing more. You will see consumers more upbeat and prepared to buy that new car that they were thinking twice about before,” Mark told Bloomberg.
“This is like 1994 again for me and I’ve been through both. I was excited about this when he finally became president as I was standing in the queues voting in 1994,” he said further
Ian Moir, Woolworths Holdings Ltd.
Ian Moir is the chief executive officer of Woolworths Holdings Ltd. Woolworths is a South African retail chain that extends throughout Africa and into the Middle East, trading through over 400 stores. It is also South Africa’s largest clothing and food retailer that caters to customers in the higher income bracket.
“We’ve gone from looking down to looking up. It’s incredibly positive. It will make a big difference in terms of consumer sentiment. We’re talking about greater GDP growth, we’re talking about fiscal responsibility, we’re talking about corruption being under control. It’s all the right things. It’s everything we wanted and I think our customer is going to respond well.” Ian said in an interview with Bloomberg.
Ian also spoke about the first rise in VAT since the end of apartheid
“Yes, VAT has increased and it was a tough budget. But the good thing was that it was a fiscally responsible budget. Our customers are going to feel better about a fiscally responsible budget and the lower threat of credit downgrades coming back than they are about an increase of 1 percent on VAT.”
Andy Hall, Adcock Ingram Holdings Ltd.
Andrew “Andy” Hall is the Chief Executive Officer at Adcock Ingram Holdings Ltd. Adcock Ingram is a leading South African pharmaceutical manufacturer, listed on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange. The Company manufactures, markets and distributes a wide range of healthcare products.
“No doubt there is a renewed sense of optimism regardless of people’s political affiliations or anything else. It benefits us in many ways. The president had committed to making sure government agencies work better, that suppliers get paid quicker, so clearly, that benefits our business. Particularly from a regulatory perspective.”
“The second issue is around how his appointment has impacted the rand-dollar exchange rate. Most of our cost inputs are on the dollar and with the rand trading where it is, it really has been beneficial to our business.”
“The other issue is that it just changes sentiment in the country. People go out and spend more time in shopping centers as opposed to sitting at home thinking about what they should be doing with their money. We are immensely positive about what the new president is saying,”Andy told Bloomberg in an interview.
Bernard Berson, Bid Corporation Limited
Bernard is the Chief Executive Officer of Bid Corporation Limited. Bid Corporation Ltd (Bidcorp), is an international food distributor, with a presence in various continents which includes Europe, Asia, Australia, South America, the Middle East, and southern African. The company distributes fresh ingredients, including fish, seafood, meat, poultry products, dairy products, and goods for the hospitality, institutional, catering, and retail sectors. They also distribute baking ingredients and equipment; and offers a multi-temperature foodservice for various ambient, chilled, and frozen food products.
“A lot of the economic cycle is based on sentiment and if you can get the sentiment to turn and you get the positive feeling, a lot of it feeds on itself. Success breeds success.”
“We sincerely hope that the feel-good factor does carry on and that Ramaphosa really does get to grips with some of the issues and can positively contribute to the future of South Africa, which will be good for South Africa, the investors, us and everybody,” Benard told Bloomberg in an interview.