BACKSTORY: Black Business Council’s Sandile Zungu
We question president of the Black Business Council Sandile Zungu
What’s your one top tip for doing a deal?
Don’t be too desperate; at least, it shouldn’t show.
What was your first job?
Trainee engineer at Richards Bay Minerals.
How much was your first pay cheque, and how did you spend it?
It was R2,700, which I used to pay a deposit for a bedroom and lounge suite at Morkels.
What was the one thing you wish somebody had told you when you were starting out?
To be a tad more patient, because everything that lasts takes a little more time to build.
What’s the most interesting thing about you that people don’t know?
I was once a club DJ and I can dance like Michael Jackson.
What has been your worst purchase?
I invested a small fortune in a personal portfolio of technology and diamond mining shares, which became obliterated beyond recognition.
How satisfied are you with how our democracy has shaped up after 1994?
By and large, I am happy with SA’s democratic trajectory. I am disappointed with the track record of the ANC on the economy. The organs of civil society have abandoned their responsibility, hence our over-reliance on the courts as final arbiters.
What is the one investment you wish you had made, or made earlier?
I have always known and admired Koos Bekker. I wish I had put much more money on Naspers much earlier than I did.
Which talent would you most like to have?
Cooking and playing the guitar.
Is there such a thing as "enough money", and if so, how much is it?
Money must be deployed to transform people’s lives for the better. In conscientious hands, there is nothing like "enough money".
What is your biggest indulgence?
I enjoy travelling and I just cannot do enough of it.
When and where were you happiest?
When I said "I do" to my childhood sweetheart, and when we welcomed our first child in January 1994.
How do you deal with stress?
I simply eat — I am at my fattest when I am a little overburdened mentally. I pray and find inspiration in listening to the music of Bob Marley and Marvin Gaye until I’m ready to resume with gym.
On what occasion do you lie?
When I want to inspire my young sons to be serious about sports. I would tell them I was a prolific centre forward who was nearly signed on by Orlando Pirates.
What is something you would go back and tell your younger self that would impress him?
Bide your time and keep your powder dry, young man. It will stand you in good stead.
Was there ever a point at which you wanted to trade it all in for a different career? And if so, what would that career be?
I traded engineering for finance when I pursued my MBA in 1995 and everything assumed shape. It was my best move.
How would you set about fixing SA’s job crisis?
Focus on small and medium businesses by cutting red tape and punishing the corrosive anticompetitive behaviour of monopolies and oligopolies.