BACKSTORY: Coca-Cola’s Velaphi Ratshefola
We question Coca-Cola Beverages SA MD Velaphi Ratshefola
What’s your one top tip for doing a deal?
You must always look at a win-win situation for both parties.
What are you reading at the moment?
Gangster State: Unravelling Ace Magashule’s Web of Capture by Pieter-Louis Myburgh.
Which phrase or word do you most overuse?
"I can, we will."
What was your first job?
What is your biggest regret?
I haven’t worked in a state-owned entity that is giving back to the country/community.
How would you fix Eskom?
I’d interview and listen to all key stakeholders, such as workers, municipalities and so on, to form a view about the top five key priorities. I would bring on board key competent skills from the private and public sector, including retired personnel from Eskom. I’d engage with municipalities directly, starting with smaller ones to discuss payment of electricity with timelines for implementation, and I would work with a competent team to review key suppliers of raw materials to ensure quality and fair prices.
What’s the most interesting thing about you that people don’t know?
I used to be an excellent soccer player and ballroom dancer.
What is your biggest indulgence?
Tell us about a hidden gem that not many people know about.
Dobsonville, Soweto. It has a rich history that isn’t documented and spoken about.
When and where are you happiest?
At any well-run farm.
What are your top tips in handling stress?
Share your frustrations with your family and you will get honest feedback.
How would you set about fixing SA’s job crisis?
This is a long-term issue and it will probably get worse before getting better, but fiscal discipline is critical. Prioritise municipalities so that they identify no more than three issues to execute with proper resources, like health, education and safety — such projects would result in huge employment. And at national level I would focus on stimulating agriculture and SMMEs. Look at supporting them with funding, tax breaks and opening markets. These would be the biggest absorbers of labour. And all young people receiving grants should be encouraged to do work in the community before receiving stipends.