Sir Richard Branson believes South Africa and the UK are in the same boat – battling choppy economic and political waters.
And if a “man and not a woman” was elected as president of the US, it would follow suit, the multibillionaire said.
Branson was in Cape Town yesterday to unveil Virgin Active’s newest luxury gym and launch Virgin Money Insurance.
Despite the economic outlook for South Africa, the flamboyant businessman said his company was making record investments.
“South Africa is having a tough time, but so is the UK.
“So could America if the election goes the wrong way in 10 days’ time and a man, not a woman, gets elected.
“As . . . businesses we’ve just got to get on and deliver and hope that the politicians will realise that what they need to do is bring as much stability to their countries as possible,” Branson said while launching the luxury gym that offers suspension yoga, a boardroom for members to use and even a shoe-shine bar.
He hoped that in their dying years politicians were able to say: “I’ve leda life that I was proud of.”
“Nelson Mandela and Archbishop[Desmond] Tutu did that and we hope that future politicians in Africa and elsewhere will do the same.”
At the launch of its short-term insurance company, Branson said it was wonderful news that Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan had been exonerated yesterday.
The company’s South African portfolio includes gyms around the country, mobile operations, a 26-bedroomhotel and vineyards in Franschhoek.
Virgin Active South Africa managing director Ross Faragher -Thomas said 14 new gyms would open this year alone.
“Our investment in the country is actually at unprecedented levels and we believe that being able to trade through these times is important for us,” Faragher -Thomas said.
Branson said he was making other investments in the hotel and airline business but hoped that stability could be brought to the political situation in South Africa.