After 35 years in journalism, John Battersby became the inaugural London-based driver of Brand South Africa. During more than a decade of waving the flag for investment and tourism, he got to meet global movers and shakers. So there are few better placed than the London-based director of the SA-UK Chamber of Commerce to report back on Julius Malema’s visit to London last week where the EFF leader enthralled UK investors, attracting record crowds wherever he went. Battersby spoke to Biznews.com’s Alec Hogg.
Following EFF leader Julius Malema’s visit to London, Alec Hogg caught up with John Battersby to get a better sense of how the UK market reacted to his visit. He started off by asking Battersby what he went over to London to do.
It was a mixture of building relationships with senior journalists and correspondents over here, many of whom I knew from my journalistic career in South Africa and working for papers abroad. Then it was trying to build relationships with institutional investors. I would accompany the Ministers of Trade & Industry and Finance and sometimes the Deputy President etcetera when they came to do roadshows to present to the biggest institutional investors. I began to get a feel of which buttons one needed to press and how one presented South Africa as a desirable destination for trade, tourism, and investment, which is the role of Brand South Africa. Being the custodian of the brand means to create the climate in which one can more successfully (that’s the theory) persuade people to invest (in), trade (with), and visit South Africa.