South Africans are too negative: Discovery CEO

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 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.


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