BACKSTORY: Andile Khumalo in his own words
We question Andile Khumalo, chair of House of Brave Group on his biggest regret, how to fix Eskom and the problem with SAA
What’s your one top tip for doing a deal?
Take time to fully understand the needs and aspirations of the other party. Then craft a transaction that solves their problems and gives you an opportunity to create value.
What was your first job?
When I was in high school, I delivered newspapers, sold Tupperware to working moms, and later started a tuck-shop, thanks to my then biology teacher. Yes, we called it biology back then.
How much was your first pay cheque, and how did you spend it?
My first real pay cheque was during my articles at Deloitte in 2000. I think I earned a gross salary of R3,500 and I saved most of it to buy my first car, a VW Golf GTI — which I still have.
What is the one thing you wish somebody had told you when you were starting out?
Building a quality business takes time.
How would you fix Eskom?
I would appoint the right people in the right positions and let them do their job.
Do you think we need SAA?
I served on the board of SAA for about two years between 2012 and 2014, so I know the business well. In short, the aviation industry has left SAA behind. With the exception of local low-cost carrier Mango, SAA simply cannot compete in its current construct. The only way out is a partnership of sorts with one of the big players — probably one of the Gulf airlines. I believe there is still value in the brand, and I reckon there is a deal to be done for the SAA tail to remain in the skies, along with the Vusi Mahlasela music — but with a very different operating model.
What is your biggest regret?
Not investing in property earlier in life.
What’s the most interesting thing about you that people don’t know?
I am Jay-Z’s number one fan. Not the one from Nkandla though.
What has been your worst purchase?
Shares in property group Fortress.
What do you consider the most overrated virtue?
What is something you would go back and tell your younger self that would impress him?
The best returns you will ever achieve are from the investments you make in yourself.
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?
For as long as I can remember I’ve always wanted to be an entrepreneur. But if I could wish for a career, it would be a professional footballer, specifically a striker for Liverpool. But apparently you need to actually know how to play football for that.
If you were Cyril Ramaphosa, what would you change, or do, tomorrow?
In his book, Good to Great, Jim Collins creates a lasting and memorable metaphor by comparing an organisation to a bus with the leader as the bus driver. Collins emphasises that it is crucial to continuously ask: "First who, then what?" So, I start by getting the right people on the bus, the wrong people off the bus, and the right people in the right seats.