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South African entrepreneur Adrian Gore, who founded the globally successful Discovery group, says South Africans are too negative about their country. He believes that South Africa is regularly framed in a “negative” way, concealing the many advances South Africa has made. Gore cites the following as indications that problems are being solved: surplus energy, improved living standards and lower murder rates. Gore has a point: all this talk about corruption, violent student protest action and Julius Malema’s divisive threats to grab land violently from white people is not good for morale. It has led to many skilled South Africans pondering emigration, taking their wealth and business acumen with them to distant lands. Investor sentiment has been knocked too, with the rand on a seemingly long-term downward trajectory against major currencies. While more attention should perhaps be paid to highlighting improvements, it would be remiss of South Africa’s media to ignore issues that threaten the country’s wellbeing, with the controversial nuclear build programme one of many cases in point. The Fourth Estate, although highlighting negatives, is in many instances doing this with a long-term positive outcome in mind: just ask the SABC 8 who are going to the Constitutional Court in the interests of freedom of expression. Unfortunately, with details of state capture and political self-enrichment bubbling to the surface daily, the news agenda is to a large degree being dictated by events that are so critical to South Africa’s progress that they beat positive developments to the headlines. Gore’s not suggesting we turn a blind eye to the challenges; he is, however, encouraging us to stop and smell the roses – there’s a lot to be grateful for. – Jackie Cameron
By Gareth van Zyl
Johannesburg – South Africans are too negative about the country as progress that has been made is not acknowledged sufficiently, says the founder and CEO of Discovery Adrian Gore.
Gore, who delivered the keynote at the Discovery Leadership Summit 2016 in Sandton on Monday morning, said that South Africa is regularly framed in a “negative way”.
“We are too negative about our country,” said Gore.
“There’s a binary nature about the country – will we survive; won’t we survive.
“The point is why create that binary question about success or failure?” he added.
While it is important to acknowledge and tackle problems such as chronic unemployment and inequality in South Africa, Gore said that advancements have been made in certain areas.
These include advances in rolling the world’s biggest anti-retroviral programme to tackle South Africa’s high HIV rate and that South Africa’s economy is four times larger in nominal terms than in 1994.
Other positives include that Eskom, which in 2008 and 2015 experienced load shedding, now has surplus energy, millions have been lifted out of poverty, life expectancy has increased, those in the lower Living Standard Measurement (LSM) 1-4 have halved and murder rates are down.
“Now, I’m not minimising these problems. I’m making the point that they’re solvable,” said Gore.
“Because we are so focused on the negatives, we actually don’t know the positives,” he added.
South African leaders should also do a better job of setting goals for the country as it engenders a sense that there is something to lose without advancement, said Gore.
“Without loss aversion, there is great danger,” he said.
“We have to make it clear to the people that we lead that there is great potential.
“The world is in fact becoming a better place yet we think it is getting worse,” said Gore.
Gore founded Discovery [JSE:DSY] in 1992. The company, which is listed on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE), has grown into a multi-billion rand healthcare business with reach in international markets such as the UK, US and China. – Fin24