SA is a different country under Cyril

Stephen Koseff

There has been a massive improvement in relations between business and government since the departure of Jacob Zuma.

This is according to Investec boss Stephen Koseff, who was briefing analysts in Johannesburg, Friday.
He said he had just attended a meeting on youth employment with president Ramaphosa and his team, as a member of a business grouping called the CEO Initiative.

“We are in a different country compared to six months ago,” he said.

President Cyril Ramaphosa and Deputy President David Mabuza meeting business leaders in Sandton

Koseff explained that the new president “understands large business” and was prepared to engage in “a proper dialogue.”

He also praised Ramaphosa for his understanding of the need to encourage investment.

He admitted there are business concerns about the ANC’s adoption of the policy allowing land seizures without compensation.  However, he hinted that assurances had been given on this.

“The Land issue will be a process, not an event,” he explained, and he suggested the government is “not trying to mess up the economy.

“The result of the December elective conference has driven an improvement in the South African economic outlook, which should positively impact activity levels going forward,” he suggested, turning to the business environment.

Koseff said that Investec has a significant operation in the UK, where “Brexit and political uncertainty has continued to impact corporate and consumer confidence.”

A master communicator

The veteran banker is soon to stand down, which will be a shame.

In the world of banking, where it is often difficult to tell robots and CEOs apart, he is a master communicator.

In just 20 minutes, he delivered his update briefing. No nonsense; no bullshit. To the point. Useful. Informative. And then there was wine and good snacks.

Contrast this to some other banking CEOs, who seriously believe an hour is too little, that they have to plough through all the dull the detail – even when they have provided a printout of slides, which can be as large as a phone directory (remember those?)

Why do they still need to go through the whole lot – or to double the discomfort by getting an even more boring finance bod to shoulder some of the burden?

Koseff has displayed self-discipline, a rough charm, and the sort of hospitality after his briefings which puts most of his peers to shame.

We can only hope that when he soon hands over to his successors, he offers them some precise advice: stick to the point.

And remember, less is more, lads.

Less is more.

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