Richard Cock. Picture: Thys Dullart/The Times
Richard Cock. Picture: Thys Dullart/The Times

What’s your one top tip for doing a deal?

Never undervalue yourself.

What was your first job?

I was church organist at St Michael’s Observatory in Cape Town when I was still at university.

How much was your first pay cheque, and how did you spend it?

R30! I gave it to my mother for petrol, because I used to use her car.

What’s the one thing you wish somebody had told you when you were starting out?

Never undervalue yourself! That’s why I’m saying it now!

How would you fix Eskom?

I would find technocrats who can run it properly, or privatise it.

Which phrase do you most overuse?

"That’s so fabulous!"

What is your biggest regret?

Not taking more holidays, or time for myself.

What’s the most interesting thing about you that people don’t know?

I really wanted to be a dairy farmer.

What has been your worst purchase?

A totally crap car … I won’t reveal what make … I gave it to my wife.

How satisfied are you with how our democracy has shaped up after 1994?

A lot of it has shaped up better than expectations, but we’ve still got a long way to go. There is still so much potential.

How would you close the gap between rich and poor in SA?

I would improve and de-politicise education so that people can lift themselves out of poverty.

What do you consider the most overrated virtue?

Caution. I’m all for having a go!

What is something you would go back and tell your younger self that would impress him?

I told you, you’d be able to do it!

What is the one investment you wish you had made, or made earlier?

When Pick n Pay was starting out I was offered 100 shares, which I wasn’t able to purchase, but I really wish I had the money to do so.

How would you set about fixing SA’s job crisis?

Make it easier for small business to employ more people, and reduce the amount of red tape. And contracts … and reporting … and blah blah blah … ! We just need to encourage entrepreneurs.

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?

Not at all, I’ve had a very, very happy career.