26 Feb

‘It’s Like 1994 Again’: South African CEOs Hail Ramaphosa Win

South African company heads cheered the start of Cyril Ramaphosa’s presidency, saying that business and consumer confidence were sure to improve following the departure of scandal-hit Jacob Zuma.

The result should be economic growth and even job creation, while various stagnating business-friendly policy initiatives could be revived. Further downgrades to the country’s debt may also be avoided.

Below is a selection of quotes taken from interviews with chief executive officers as their companies reported full- or half-year financial results.

South Africa’s largest clothing and food retailer caters for customers in the higher income bracket in its home market and in Australia.

“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.”

Referring to last week’s Budget, which included 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.” Mark Lamberti, Imperial Holdings Ltd.

South Africa’s sixth-largest company by sales has a global transportation operation and is planning to spin off its African car rental and retail business later this year.

“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.

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