BACKSTORY: Attacq CEO Jackie van Niekerk
We question Jackie van Niekerk, CEO of property group Attacq
What’s your one top tip for doing a deal?
Listen — not just to respond, but to understand. This helps me navigate the deal better and for both parties to achieve a fair solution.
What was your first job? How much was your first pay cheque, and how did you spend it?
I was a waitress at Café 41 in Groenkloof, Pretoria, while at university. It helped pay for my studies and social outings.
What is the one thing you wish somebody had told you when you were starting out?
Life is about balance. Focus on family, self-care and your career.
If you could fix only one thing in SA, what would it be?
Ensure young people are provided with quality education.
What’s the most interesting thing about you that people don’t know?
When I was a child, I wanted to become a doctor. Now in my career I make it my life’s purpose to help uplift, develop and leave the world a better place.
What’s the worst investment mistake you’ve made?
Investing in a piece of land at the age of 24. Thankfully, my worst investment became a learning experience.
What’s the best investment you’ve ever made?
Putting myself through university, understanding the value of completing my degree. When times were tough, I had to make a plan and my greatest lesson has been to invest in myself.
How much of it was due to luck?
There is no luck, only hard work. Believe in yourself, no matter the circumstances, even if you are young or the underdog.
What’s the hardest life lesson you’ve learnt so far?
Life isn’t fair. Accept challenges head-on and learn to listen first.
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?
Yes, when on the "listed life treadmill", I often think about being a flower farmer in the Western Cape. However, I do love my job and improving the communities in which we operate.
If you were President Cyril Ramaphosa, what would you change, or do, tomorrow?
I’d continue cleaning up the state capture and corruption that have plagued SA, and I would foster a culture of excellence in government.
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