Your entire economy was hijacked! How many are in prison? – Richard Quest, CNN

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It’s usually a joy to watch when The Money Show’s Bruce Whitfield and CNN’s Richard Quest get together.

The bromance is palpable.

This time around, however, especially if you’re a South African, the discussion was decidedly uncomfortable.

It starts innocuously with a discussion about the heavy security in Davos and Donald Trump.

There are enough CEOs in there that – God forbid – should something happen you’d do serious damage to the world economy.

Richard Quest, CNN

He [Donald Trump] came to make a speech – not a policy speech - he broke it down into a litany of American economic success, which is true, followed by a variety of comments about apocalypse and doomsayers about the environment.

Richard Quest, CNN

Then a somewhat scratchy discussion on the value of WEF and a disagreement between the two on the role of CEOs.

It may be unpalatable for viewers to accept, but ordinary people can effect change in their daily lives. These people [the elites at WEF] can effect change for countries and continents.

Richard Quest, CNN

The CEO is the moral barometer of today! It’s not terrifying. A proper CEO with true stakeholder mentality accepts that she must do well for shareholders. But, she’ll only do well for shareholders if she does well for employees. And she’ll only do well for employees if she keeps her customers.

Richard Quest, CNN

When Whitfield starts asking questions about Brand South Africa, the straight-shooting Quest gets animated.

It’s vital to hear what Quest has to say, though it makes for uncomfortable watching.

Brand South Africa has tried to put scarves around my neck… But it hasn’t got the same profile as in previous years… There’s no point in coming here to say ‘invest in me’ if you don’t have the policies worthy of it.

Richard Quest, CNN

We’ve discovered just how awful State Capture at state-owned enterprises was… You tell me how anybody who has come here for the past five or 10 years saying, ‘South Africa is going really well’, suddenly turns around and says, ‘Well, actually, the entire economy was hijacked… and we’re not even sure we’ve dealt with it’… How many people have gone to prison so far?

Richard Quest, CNN

Of course, I’ve flown SAA! It’s an excellent airline! [But] The amount of money that the South African government has to put into it is staggering! Unless there’s a proper restructuring – with government’s hands-off – you’ve got to ask, ‘Why not just shut it down?’… For South African Airlines to become profitable is going to require the most drastic restructuring, and even then, it might not. It’s worth having a go, but I’m telling you the government can’t keep its hands off it!

Richard Quest, CNN

South Africa’s government has minuscule credibility following the Zuma years and the capture of state-owned enterprises… The potential in South Africa is enormous! But you [referring to President Cyril Ramaphosa] cannot turn around and say… ‘I saw nothing and heard nothing!’”

Richard Quest, CNN

Watch the entire interview below.


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