South Africa

South Africa’s biggest challenge is poor government execution – Capitec CEO

Capitec CEO Gerrie Fourie said South Africa’s biggest challenge is that the government does not deliver and execute its plans to fix the country’s problems. 

Fourie’s comments come in light of many of South Africa’s top CEOs lamenting the state of the country.

FirstRand CEO Alan Pullinger recently said the government is not prepared to do the hard work to get South Africa off the greylist. 

He said South Africa’s banking industry faces a “profound geopolitical risk” from the government’s close ties with Russia. 

Standard Bank CEO Sim Tshabalala also recently said South Africa is losing its competitive advantage over the rest of Africa.

The country’s risk premium deters investment and makes it harder to raise capital to stimulate economic growth. 

“We are competing on the continent and with emerging markets for this capital. So if they have decreased the risk of investing in their country and generated greater returns, the money will then rather go to those places than South Africa,” he said. 

While Fourie said he understands where the other CEOs are coming from, he believes South Africa’s problems should be viewed in perspective.

For example, “people run away with the interest rates where they are now, but interest rates are exactly where they were before Covid”.

Rather, Fourie believes the country’s biggest challenge comes from the government having to “deliver on what needs to be done” and not doing so.

“We’ve got massive problems with Eskom, we’ve got massive problems with Transnet, and we’ve got massive problems with education.”

“So, it’s the management side, and that’s where there must be a partnership between the government and the private sector.”

However, he emphasised that this partnership should not be focused on “Who’s winning?”

“Who, ultimately, must win is South Africa because the more South Africa wins, the more everyone is going to be happy.”

Currently, the country is not getting this right and addressing South Africa’s problems is taking too long, he said.

“You need to go in and execute your plans that you’ve got in the Cabinet.”

“We’ve got a saying at Capitec, ‘Go out, execute’. If you made a wrong decision, correct it, admit it and come back and carry on.”