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Kinola Pather, CEO of Randgo. Picture: Supplied
Kinola Pather, CEO of Randgo. Picture: Supplied

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

Actively listen to the needs of a prospective client and don’t listen to respond. The opportunity must be mutually beneficial and if not, I have no problem walking away from it.

What was your first job?

I was a graduate management trainee at Sun International, which required me to develop my skills through training in the hospitality and gaming divisions.

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

Somewhere in the region of R7,000. I had just started on the graduate programme and found out I was pregnant, so most of my spend went towards baby essentials in preparation for my daughter’s arrival.

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

Don’t expect everyone to do their job, even if they are hired to do so.

If you could fix only one thing in South Africa, what would it be?

The schooling curriculum. The information being taught to kids does not prepare them adequately for life. If we are to deliver on radical economic transformation in this country and reduce the level of inequality, it needs to start at grassroots levels.

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

I’m a loner. I genuinely enjoy my own company.

What’s the worst investment mistake you’ve made?

I can’t say that I have ever made any bad investments, simply because I am a cautious investor and I don’t invest without an adviser, be it a professional or friend.

What’s the best investment you’ve ever made? And how much of it was due to luck?

It would be preserving my retirement fund when moving companies and being conscious of saving for the future. Far too often people cash out at the time of moving jobs, not adequately preparing for retirement, but thanks to a good friend I was steered in the right direction.

What’s the best book you’ve read recently and why did you like it?

The Happiest Man on Earth: The Beautiful Life of an Auschwitz Survivor by Eddie Jaku. I liked it because it accounts for a man who lived through one of the world’s most atrocious events and in the end, he found love, joy, peace, family and happiness. In the book he teaches his readers to choose happiness. Hug your mom. Love your mom. And choose to be happy. And he wrote the book at the age of 99, which I found inspirational.

What is the hardest life lesson you’ve learnt so far?

At this point, I have been forced to learn so many tough lessons. If I were to name one, I would have to say that not everyone who celebrates you is happy for you. Keep your circle small and discern who can be trusted with certain information. Social media has too many people sharing too much. A private life with a small circle of trusted individuals makes for a happy, peaceful and content life.

What phrase or bit of jargon irks you most?

It’s above my pay grade.

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

As a single mom, raised in a low- to middle-income home, you defied the odds and became a CEO before the age of 40. Mom and Dad are proud of you.

If you were President Cyril Ramaphosa, what would you change, or do, tomorrow?

This is not an easy question to answer because change does not happen overnight and, for the most part, many people are averse to change. But if it were up to me, I would change the team of advisers and ministers in office. I would recruit from the private sector, and I would appoint based on attitude (because that is not what you can teach). If change is to become a reality, it must happen at leadership level first!

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