In this episode of Big Fish Stories, we delve into the dynamic world of South African entrepreneurship with Andile Khumalo, a towering figure in the nation’s business landscape.
Join us as we go beyond the ordinary and dive deep into the intricate nuances of South Africa’s business environment. This in-depth conversation explores a diverse range of topics – from the exploration of regulations to the intriguing future of politics. We probe the pressing question: Does South Africa still hold opportunities for budding entrepreneurs? Andile certainly thinks so.
Beyond merely dissecting the business climate, we also delve into the subject of talent and discuss various facets essential to entrepreneurship within the South African context. Few voices carry as much weight and authority on this subject as Andile’s, making this episode an absolute must-listen.
If you’re in search of a dose of grounded optimism, look no further. It’s our absolute privilege to share Andile’s wisdom with you.
Big Fish Stories is available wherever you get your podcasts. Take a listen!
Eitan Stern: Yeah. So yeah .
Andile Khumalo: Really cool if his , his wife , if his wife goes into labour during this call.
Eitan Stern: No, it’s not cool.
Andile Khumalo: I’d be like , I was with him right there! You know? It’s a moment.
Eitan Stern: It’d be a moment. Yeah . Yeah .
Andile Khumalo: I think the middle name of your child should be Andile on that basis only.
Eitan Stern: Welcome to Legalese Big Fish Stories, the podcast where we showcase local South African entrepreneurs their stories and their big relevance to the world around them. As lawyers working with startups and established businesses in the tech and creative industries, we get front row seats to some incredible business adventure rides. The problem is that as lawyers, our work is confidential with big fish stories. We’re going inside the room with some proudly south African entrepreneurs to talk about their airy highs, lonely lows and creamy middles of the roads to success. As a country, deep in economic development, there is massive potential for smart entrepreneurs to build something great. Join us as we meet some of these big fish and find out how they’re looking to make their ponds even bigger. I’m your host managing director of Legalese , Eitan Stern. Andile It’s great to have you and I , I normally kick these things off with like a , a nice softer opener of you introduce yourself and what do you do, but I think for you, yeah , that’s not a soft opener. That’s a complex question, <laugh>. So , uh, what do you do for a living?
Andile Khumalo: Okay. What do I do now for a living is I run a family investment office. Okay. It’s an investment business that’s owned by my family, my wife, myself.
Eitan Stern: Is that, what, is that what a home office is? Do you wanna explain what a home office is ? Pretty much
Andile Khumalo: Is Yeah. You know, but like, you know, except mine is lacking a few zeroes at the end. <laugh> . So most people that say they, they that run a family offices or guys that have like, you know, have had like a big whirlwind of cash out of some deal. Or got into a late stage of their lives and now they just have all this cash and they’re just invested in stuff. They’re like, mine is kind of more of an investment business than it is just a family office. Okay. So that’s why I always reference it as a family investment office.
Eitan Stern: Nice.
Andile Khumalo: And what we do is we, we invest in businesses that are normally started or created or founded by the managers of those businesses. Mm-hmm . <affirmative> . So that’s kind of the unique nature of the businesses. All of them are owner managed and typically we’re the only institution. In other words, we’re the only shareholder that’s not operationally involved. It’s kind of from a day to day , but we are strategically involved.
Eitan Stern: Okay. Is that , that’s a prerequisite for you? That’s
Andile Khumalo: A prerequisite for us. Yeah . So we sort all the boards, I typically chair the investments. Okay . Um , now as we’re building more and more capacity, we’ve got our portfolio managers that are now also chairing some of those boards. But yeah. So we, we strategically involved in the business. We are in , we put capital, we put time , we put energy, we put expertise, and we typically focus on business development. So we try to grow the businesses organically, but also by acquisition.
Eitan Stern: And any specific types of businesses that you like? Or is it, if there’s a smart on entrepreneur and a cool business idea you’re involved?
Andile Khumalo: It’s definitely the latter. Um , okay . I try to stay away from industry . I , I absolutely know nothing about it.
Eitan Stern: Okay. So you’re involved. Yeah,
Andile Khumalo: I’m pretty involved. Okay . I also like, you know, I I I , I think you should like know a little bit about what you’re putting money
Eitan Stern: Into. Yeah. To totally.
Andile Khumalo: But I also don’t believe like you should only put money in stuff that you are an expert at.
Eitan Stern: Yeah.
Andile Khumalo: Um, I think it’s very limiting and I think life is boring that way.
Eitan Stern: Yeah. It’s always, I mean, it’s probably a different conversation that’s , but I’ve always thought with venture capital firms that have like a , a , a thesis of what they’re , what they’re putting their money into, it’s, it probably works from like a data perspective, but I don’t think life is can be, or investment can be refined into a thesis if there’s opportunity. Absolutely . Absolutely. There’s opportunity. I
Andile Khumalo: Reckon like maybe , maybe two . I’d say there’s probably like two most important things when Yeah . When getting into an investment.
Eitan Stern: Yes.
Andile Khumalo: The jockey.
Eitan Stern: Okay.
Andile Khumalo: So it’s often an individual Yeah . Or groups of individuals. Yeah. Because, you know, really bad businesses can be made good by good people.
Eitan Stern: By good people. Yeah. Uh ,
Andile Khumalo: And really good businesses can be totally screwed up by bad people.
Eitan Stern: Yeah, totally.
Andile Khumalo: So yes, of course you need a decent business. Yeah . But I’ve learned that you probably need just a better team and a better group of individuals. Yeah . And sometimes it’s just one individual. Mm-hmm . Because the world changes, business models change , uh, threats are different. Who would’ve thought we have to deal with Covid. Yeah . Resilient people, ethical people, people with proper values. Yeah . People that want to , that are similar to you in many ways in terms of how this , the world you together can find your way out of and into
Eitan Stern: Anything. There’s a statistic about how many unicorn startups that started with the, with the model that they currently have. And I think it’s pretty much zero. Yeah . I mean the one that comes to mind is , I can believe that is , is Slack, the app ? Slack? Yeah . Yeah . They , they were developing a game and they had an internal chat system and when the game didn’t work, they were just like, well, what about this internal chat system? And then That’s amazing.
Andile Khumalo: Yeah. That’s
Eitan Stern: Amazing. So, and do know , so you’ve got clearly got a lot of experience around on entrepreneurship. You ran this investment office. Have you always been non entrepreneur or was it a journey to get to this point? How , how did you arrive at what you
Andile Khumalo: I’m lucky, bro. I’ve, I’m lucky in that I’ve always wanted to be an entrepreneur. Okay. Since I was a kid. Okay. When I was in high school , um, approaching my trick. Yeah . My teacher told me that , um, that the staff are busy trying to decide who’s gonna be prefects and head prefects. So while he was in conversation telling me this, which was meant to be a big deal to me, I said, oh, by the way, before you finish, I think we should open a tuck shop at
Eitan Stern: School.
Andile Khumalo: Okay. And the reason we needed a tuck shop at school is because we couldn’t, we didn’t have anything to buy Yeah . During break time . Yeah . And they wouldn’t let us out of the school gate.
Eitan Stern: Yeah.
Andile Khumalo: You know, cuz like, you know, the kind of community I went to school and Yeah . That was a , you didn’t wanna leave it and that was just not allowed. Yeah . You know , so anyway, he’s like, what do you mean? I’m like, no , I wanna open a school tuck shop. You know, and the money we make, we are gonna use it for some stuff in school. So anyway, back in what was then, what was , what is now grade 11, I started this idea. Um, and even when they wanted to make me prefect at the school, I was like, no , I’m not interested in being a prefect. I wanna start a business. Um , then even long before that, like even growing up as a kid, I was always doing something entrepreneurial. I delivered newspapers when I was had a newspaper delivery. I was a newspaper delivery boy. Yeah . I sold Tupperware, if you know that .
Eitan Stern: Okay . I remember that . That
Andile Khumalo: How old
Eitan Stern: That how old are you
Andile Khumalo: Now? I’m 45.
Eitan Stern: 45.
Andile Khumalo: Okay . So I can say this . I’ve been doing this for like, I don’t know, maybe 30
Eitan Stern: Years. So what , this is like the mid nineties, the late eighties or
Andile Khumalo: Something? Yeah . Yeah. So I finished high school in 95. In
Eitan Stern: 95.
Andile Khumalo: I was just telling somebody this morning that I remember writing letters to apply for bursary to go to varsity in 1994. Okay. And when you think about like, where we at now? Yeah . What 1994 was like in South Africa, like now that you’re older Yeah . You see it different. But when you were a kid then you were just like, you know, hoping that somebody could take you to school . Cause that’s my only way of going university. Well ,
Eitan Stern: Univers . So what was that like? Can we dig into that for a second? So, I mean, I mean, it’s podcast people can’t see you , but you’re a black man in South Africa . So 94 , it’s uh , it’s quite a crucial time. I mean, so you, what , so you’re about 17, 18 in 94 .
Andile Khumalo: 4, 17, 18 . I’m in high school in a part of Durban. So I’m originally from Durban. Okay. In a part of Durban. Uh , it’s a colored township. Yeah . You know, so, so, so black schools or schools for black people like me, the education quality was so bad. Okay. Most parents tried to get their kids into the Indian schools Gotcha . Of the college schools. Cause it’s a little bit better. Yeah . So I was in this college school in Newland , east Secondary and we had this part-time guidance instructor. And this lady was like, you know , um, for, for whatever reason we avoided like , uh, a civil war in this country. Yeah. Uh , you guys are now part of what looks like a dream come true type of country. Mm . The whole world is looking to support young, black, bright kids to get into some kind of an economy.
Eitan Stern: Even in 1994 , that was the context.
Andile Khumalo: That was what the teacher was saying. Okay . She was very conscious though I remember her very well. She was like, you write as many letters as possible. Yes . You apply to as many jobs as possible because this is opportunity of your time . Okay. We were kids, we didn’t really understand it then now I get it. Yeah.
Eitan Stern: You know ? Totally.
Andile Khumalo: Yeah. You know that book, that outliers book? Yes .
Eitan Stern: You know?
Andile Khumalo: Yeah . That talks about out like successful people, quote unquote successful people and how we often see them as, you know, they’re successful because of what they did and how amazing they are. Yeah. And , and the point of the book is about talking about, you know, many of them are product of the time they were born or were active as busy people. Yeah . And the place.
Eitan Stern: Totally. Yeah.
Andile Khumalo: So if you , if if , and they make a case in the book Of course. Um, about that. And I feel the same way. I think, I think I think a lot of like what I’ve achieved or kind of the opportunities I’ve been exposed to has a lot to do with the fact that I finished high school in 1995 in South Africa. Well ,
Eitan Stern: Yes . And I’m black . I mean, a lot of people also finished high school in , in around the same time. Didn’t have this , didn’t land up at the same career as you . So I also That’s also fair . So I think it’s, that’s also fair. So I guess it it , it touches on, I mean, I , and not to say that , that you’re wrong, the status, I think you’re quite correct. But it , it touches on this question that I wanna ask, which is, I mean, what was it for you, what was that inspiration for you that took you from a , a poor neighbourhood in Durban to wanting to you , cuz you became an accountant, right ? Yeah.
Andile Khumalo: I’m majority accountant. Right. That’s what said , I’m a chartered accountant, but profession, I know <laugh> , you know , you know the joke, right ? Like, how do you know someone’s a chartered accountant? They tell you
Eitan Stern: <laugh> they put it next to their name and what , um, so I mean, what , what , what , what , what’s the inspiration? Do you remember as a kid, what , what inspired you?
Andile Khumalo: Yeah. I think for me, I , I grew up in a fir I think the inspiration first comes from home. Mm-hmm . <affirmative> . So I grew up in a very big family that’s very close. And even though my grandfather, my grandmother, my mother, many of my aunts and uncles were teachers. That was kind of the opportunity of their time . Yes . You know, the noble professions for black people then were being a teacher, being a nurse. Yeah. And , and the really, really good and smart ones became doctors. Yes . You
Eitan Stern: Know, same with the Jews. Can I say <laugh> ? Yeah . Same. Right . How do you know if a Jewish mother has has a doctor as a son? Yeah. They tell you <laugh>,
Andile Khumalo: Apparently they don’t talk about the ca son . They talk only about the doctor
Eitan Stern: Son . No . Yeah . There’s another joke around that I play another time’s .
Andile Khumalo: Very interesting . So anyway, I think it’s from the family. I think, I think I just grew up in an environment where, you know, excellence was just normal man. Like, you know, that’s , people cared. My , my aunts, my uncles cared about the grades you got. Yeah. You know, they were always encouraging you to be the best at what you, you can do. Mm-hmm . And I remember qualifying as a c many years later and trying to explain to them what a chartered accountant is. And I don’t think they get it till today . Okay . I don’t think they actually know what I do. True . So , so it’s very interesting in that like excellence for me wasn’t like, it wasn’t like this thing I had to like, you know, adopt from somewhere else. Yeah. So even though in their environment being teachers doesn’t look like a very successful family. Yeah. For me it was a very successful family because they were at the kind of highest level of their environment. They all became principals of these schools and Yeah. And all sorts of things. So I just grew up in an environment where that was normal. So when, when the opportunity of my time came and I got that bursary and I went to university and I wrote that board exam and I, you know, got that job at InvestTech, became an investment banker, and then started my own business back in 2004. It, it wasn’t new. Gotcha . It was just like, yeah, this is what you’re supposed to do . So it’s very weird for me . I never think of it as the specific, in instance or this particular situation kind of motivated me. Motivat . Motivat . Yeah . It just felt like this is what we do around here. You know, we do our best.
Eitan Stern: And that’s great. I mean, that that should be, and it is for a lot of families. That is what it , what it’s like, I guess why is it interesting for me to hear the story is because what you’re saying , I mean, it sounds like a similar story for my environment. Yeah . But I went to a private school in the nineties here in Cape Town. As a white kid you grew up and going to a school that in the medical context ,
Andile Khumalo: But Cause cause you were a kid. Yeah . I must be honest. You don’t think of it
Eitan Stern: That way. No you don’t. Yeah .
Andile Khumalo: You only think of it now cuz you’re older and you look back. Got you . And then you look at the differences between like the school you went to, what I went to. Yeah . But back then as kids, you probably didn’t walk around feeling privileged. No. And I, and I didn’t walk around feeling, feeling like I’m not privileged, if that makes any sense. Right.
Eitan Stern: It makes perfect sense. Yeah .
Andile Khumalo: But when you grow up, of course you see the injustices, you’re smart or whatever. But like, I was just a kid in a very loving home. We ate every day . We slept with full stomachs. We went to school. Um , my grandfather even bought a little buck at the house. We had a car, we had lights, we had water. Thank So it wasn’t like abject poverty to a point of like, you know, oh my , my word. I came from this. Yeah , yeah , yeah . This , this horrible background. But it was hard when you look back now that I’m older. Gotcha . Yeah .
Eitan Stern: Absolutely. No, it’s an interesting story. So andela like, the reason that you’re here is we don’t actually know each other, but I saw you speak an event recently. Yeah . And I just left feeling quite inspired. I’m getting the feeling. Thank you bro . From , from , from chatting to you here that this is probably a , a feeling that follows you around a lot , <laugh> a lot in your life. And, and I guess one of the reasons is , is I wanted other people to who listen to this podcast to hear some of the stuff that you were talking about Sure . In hearing your message. But I suppose also because of that, we , we we’re picking a tough subject for today. Cause I feel like , uh, I feel like you can
Andile Khumalo: Have it . Oh , I’m in trouble now.
Eitan Stern: No , <laugh> . I , I guess the tough subject for me is, so, so I’m an entrepreneur as well. I love entrepreneurship. I love that . What it does for our country. Yeah. And it creates employment. And what we need is employment. And I love the the values Yeah . That on entrepreneurs build and, and I think even with our company, we try to run it with on entrepreneurial spirits. Yeah . You know, people have, have targets and can, if the company does well, they can do better. People have a , have a role in their success in their job. Yeah . I think entrepreneurship’s got a great value system to it. And I think South Africa needs entrepreneurs to continue to grow. And I suppose absolutely. Suppose where I want to direct this conversation is around South Africa. Where , where do you feel South Africa is now in terms of entrepreneurship, in terms of starting businesses, in terms of doing business in South Africa? How are we doing?
Andile Khumalo: You know, a lot of way South Africa is as a country and a society, unfortunately is somewhat inextricably linked to our politics. Okay. And that is because our history as a country and the people that are in leadership positions, including you and I, have been shaped unfortunately by the horrible, his recent history that we have. Yeah . And I know that South Africans are bored and tired of people talking about partying again. But you cannot ignore that. No. I mean here, you , you and I are at the age we are at , we’re writing businesses, we still talk . We can reference how we grew up in an unjust system. Maybe when our kids meet up on a podcast in 20 years time and talk, or we hope they don’t talk about these two diverse worlds.
Eitan Stern: Yeah, for sure.
Andile Khumalo: So, so unfortunately we can’t ignore it. So I’m gonna start at the , at the point where I’m saying the, the social fiber of our country is linked to where we come from. And I think that the political environment that we found ourselves in and the leadership that we need from a country perspective is unfortunately at a point where their own ideologies are being questioned because the world has moved on. Mm . When, when 94 came and, and, you know, freedom came, the freedom that we all celebrated on the 27th of April. It was with an ideology of a group of people that were gonna take this country in a particular direction. And one of the most powerful views that was held by that group of people was the role of the state in the economy and how they proposed or believed they would deal with inequality and poverty. Mm-hmm . And it was all centered around the state. So there was the state that was gonna control these key institutions was gonna control all these things and trickle down economics were gonna play their part and South Africans would be lifted out of poverty.
Eitan Stern: That was the thesis.
Andile Khumalo: That was the thesis. Yeah . You know, and it , you know, it was , it was a very , um, U S S R thesis. It’s a very primitive thesis because the world has moved on and I think the guys have kind of bashed their heads around this thing. I mean, I remember in university when you’d read almost every other day about the debate on privatization, should we privatize? Should we not privatize?
Eitan Stern: That’s been going on for that long. That’s
Andile Khumalo: Been going on for that long because they come from this very kind of socialist kind of background of, you know, the state is meant to deliver. And I’m coming to your point about entrepreneurship. What entrepreneurship needs is a free market, not a state control market. Because otherwise you don’t have access opportunity opportunities for access of entrepreneurs to do things because it’s a very regulated, it’s very tight. Yes. We are now living in a country where privately you and I can generate electricity for ourselves. Yeah. To a limit. That was unheard of
Eitan Stern: A year ago. A year
Andile Khumalo: Ago. Yeah. So now locomotives businesses are gonna be using the Transnet network to be able to provide goods, transportation solutions for other companies. Mm-hmm . <affirmative> , it is no longer the , the trans , you know, Transnet only. Yeah . It’s not a monopoly anymore. What is the point I’m making? The point I’m making is you almost need a country, a government that is open to the idea of a free market to allow entrepreneurs to thrive. And I think in many industries, we are getting there quicker than we did. I wish we were there before. Long before now. Um, I think banking was a lot more open than it used to be before. And that’s why we have such great innovative businesses that have gone into banking.
Eitan Stern: Look at the FinTech
Andile Khumalo: Solutions. Look at those , the FinTech companies. Look at all that’s come through the bank zeros. Um , the yoko’s . Exactly. That’s because you can do that in South Africa. Right . It’s not this little , uh, world of only a few and you only, you know, you need to have a billion grand be able to have a last nowadays that’s open for you . You can do that. So I think that South Africa is eventually smelling the coffee that you need a free market system, a real free market system. Mm . And what government needs to do is regulate so that there is enough competition so that the average consumer can benefit from good competition. What government needs to do is create an enabling environment and get out the way because they can’t provide a better life for all to quote a voting slogan of the ruling party. If they leave out business, you need business. It just doesn’t make sense. You can’t do it all by yourself. And I think unfortunately, yes, it’s 20 something years later. But I think the penny is landed now that you
Eitan Stern: Need , you think it’s handed ?
Andile Khumalo: I think so. Okay. Because I can see it. Okay. I can see it. The evidence is absolutely there. You can
Eitan Stern: See it . Give , gimme an example.
Andile Khumalo: I just spoke to you about
Eitan Stern: Electricity. The electricity example . Yeah. I mean , but it
Andile Khumalo: Had to be what it is. We had to have rolling blackouts, have dysfunctional escom for people to go, oh, oh , well now that we kind of screwed up escom , now you can generate your own electricity. It doesn’t have to get there . We don’t need all that.
Eitan Stern: I don’t think the electricity examples a very fair one because you’re right, the example makes perfect sense. But you had to get for rolling blackouts government and had no other choice. And I read yesterday the article what , 1.5 trillion random investment from private sector into it . It’s a , it’s a monster industry. Yeah . And people are gonna make loads of cash. And I wish I wasn’t running a legal practice . I wish I was importing solar panels right now, but yesterday we spoke to , uh, the founder of Generation schools. They’re like a private school that building around the country. Now they , they’ve moved off matric . They’re not doing matric anymore. They , their , their certification is a , is a global certification. And , and for me it struck me as like there was something so, I mean brilliant and e exceptional for the kids and great for this business, but there’s something quite sad about it. That it’s like this is an industry which is, which is now not trusting the South African regulated , uh, education. Absolutely . And I , the , I suppose the point, what I’m trying to say is it’s like the , the , I think the thing which came out of that podcast was they’re not getting that support from government . It doesn’t feel like in that industry, in education government have the pennies dropped and they’ve said, cool private schools, we need to also support you. Yes. They’re paying full rates on their buildings, on their , and
Andile Khumalo: I’m saying it comes from the ideology brother, because you have a government that doesn’t believe in the system. They’ve been almost coerced into.
Eitan Stern: So I’m saying you you’re saying you’re seeing a changing, do you think that it’s gonna soon will be in education, it’ll be in transport That, that message
Andile Khumalo: Only because that ideology they brought into governance Yeah . Isn’t working.
Eitan Stern: Yeah.
Andile Khumalo: So, so you know, all these companies, the Anglos of the world, the voter comms are generating their own power for their business to be sustainable. Not because of government support. Not because government woke up one day and said, yeah , you know what the right thing for us to do is to allow the private sector to generate electricity that will reduce the responsibility on escom and maybe SCOM can provide electricity for domestic environments, et cetera , et cetera . So make sure everybody’s got electricity, you know, big companies must be allowed to generate, they didn’t wake up one day and change their ideology. Their ideology is that there must be a SCOM that’s owned by the state that must provide all electricity to everybody. That’s, that’s
Eitan Stern: The whole , that’s mindset. The
Andile Khumalo: The model has flopped. Yeah . That is forced room for the private sector. That same thing is gonna happen in everything. Okay . It’s gonna happen in education . It’s gonna happen in health. It’s already happening in health by the way. Totally.
Eitan Stern: Yes . Absolutely. I mean, no, I mean I’m a discovery the
Andile Khumalo: Average family in the township does not want to send their kid to a government hospital. Yes. They don’t they that . So clearly there’s gonna be some point a solution Yeah , totally . That the market is gonna provide that that township family can, can, can afford. I was, I was on a hike this morning , uh, with Ian, a friend of mine who’s a founder of a company called Too much wifi . Okay. They’re providing fixed wifi solutions for township households.
Eitan Stern: Totally. I mean,
Andile Khumalo: So, so that’s how I think the private sector, I don’t think it’s out of the goodness of governments or of the benevolence or suddenly the , their eyes have been opened up. No, I just think that the world has changed and the room for entrepreneurship, we’re almost forcing our way into the room, if you know what I
Eitan Stern: Mean. Yeah. I mean, and I always say when uh , the world never looks so positive as it does from the eyes of people involved in mergers and acquisitions, because for some reason guys that involved investment always see the world. We always see the opportunity. Always the opportunity in everything. And I , and I think like, I I think that’s, so that’s , that’s my question. Maybe you’ve answered it. So, so you as a 44 year old guy, you got kids here, you , you , I mean, you see opportunity, they’re still you looking to still start businesses in South Africa. Absolutely. You feel that there’s room for growth here ?
Andile Khumalo: I don’t think there is a place in the world with more opportunity for me, for me. De la Kumalo . Yeah. A black boy from South Africa to compete at the highest level. This is it for me. Okay.
Eitan Stern: Where
Andile Khumalo: Would I go?
Eitan Stern: No, a hundred percent. I mean it’s , where could I go?
Andile Khumalo: You could walking can there and compete.
Eitan Stern: You could go anywhere. You’ve got a great skillset , but you not
Andile Khumalo: Yeah . I never work for some company overseas. But to build businesses that can scale and solve real issues, I think it’s the best place in the world.
Eitan Stern: So I think like that, that’s sort of my next question. I mean, it’s always kind of been a marvel for me in that South Africa’s got , it’s so much poverty that you see everywhere you go on the streets, there’s poverty, there’s poor people. It’s , it’s a heartbreaking idea that that’s that of the, I suppose the inequality in South Africa is rough and, and it’s always been a marvel for me that you go to someone like Santon every time I’ve ever been to Santon Yeah . There’s always construction. There’s buildings going up, new offices going up. So in some areas in this country, people are making loads and loads of money. Yeah. And they’re still building, they’re still going forward in other areas of the country. There are. Yeah. I mean they , they , they , the opportunities are being shut down. So I suppose my question that is, I mean, do you see the same thing or do you think that in this country there’s still, there’s pockets of economy that are growing Yeah . And pockets of the markets. And, and if you do see it like that, how do we, how do we ensure that there’s a spread?
Andile Khumalo: I think, I think
Eitan Stern: You big question to ask you not phenomen
Andile Khumalo: Fair. No , I love a question . Cause it talks to our fundamental issue and challenge in South Africa. So I don’t think we have a macroeconomic challenge. And I know that the macro economy right now is not doing well. It can be better. I do think that the ideologies that I refer to are changing. Yeah. Probably not because of the goodness of their hearts. Probably because the world is
Eitan Stern: Becoming different . You wanna follow money different place
Andile Khumalo: Money that for me says, we’ll get there, we’ll be fine. So macroeconomically, I’m not, I’m not losing my mind. My issue is inequality because that’s what you really speaking to hundred percent . How is it possible that somebody can have so much wealth in the same country where somebody can have so little? And that is because, and that, and that is what’s led through this inequality. The cause of that is obviously the history, how you solve it is by finding a way to create opportunity for the poorest of the poor. Yeah. So in my view, too much is given much should be expected. And I don’t think we do that enough as South Africans. So in my own little business, right,
Eitan Stern: The family office, my
Andile Khumalo: Own little family office, I could earn enough money to provide for my family, but I probably don’t need all the money that I earn to live the lifestyle that I want to live. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, I could probably take some of that money to create opportunity for someone else. I look at my own life, you know, like I said to you earlier, I’m the eldest grandchild and by virtue of me getting that opportunity, that bursary writing that board exam, becoming that ca getting that investment job, investment banking job at InvestTech help me do the same for all my cousins after me. So all the kids or my aunts and uncles at some point in their lives have lived with me. They were coming for an interview in Joberg . They were between causes, whatever reason. Yeah . Like, like it’s a joke at home. We talk about it all the time. How everybody has stayed at Angela’s house.
Eitan Stern: Yeah .
Andile Khumalo: And that’s because I had the opportunity to now create opportunity for the rest of my family members. Yes. They’re all now bankers and big banks and big marketers at big marketing companies. The point I’m trying to make is the opportunity given to me allowed me to give an opportunity to many other people. If we South Africans could see that as something we could drive, we could, we could stop thinking about yes, it must start with your family, but it can be absolutely to the extension of your family. So I don’t believe that we have a big macro issue. Of course that’s what we all talk about every day on business shows on , on the business day, every day on the financial mail every week about the macroeconomics. Rightfully so. We should be worried about the macros. Cuz if we don’t have a macro economy then there’s nothing to talk about. But I think we do have something there. I think the problem we have, we just have too many people too much and too many people too little. And we’ve gotta think of ways and means where we can share. Cuz we don’t need as much as some of us have.
Eitan Stern: Yeah. I I agree with every word there. I mean, and for many it , it sounds like we grew up with a similar eth . I mean that that’s, you , you , the the socialist thesis that you’re essentially talking about is something which , which i , which I hold true as well. It’s like, and and, and and I think that comes into this idea of , uh, of being an entrepreneur, right? Yeah . Rather, rather employ someone. If you part part, what am I trying to say? One of the things I take a lot of pride in in, in running a business, I take pride in the fact that there are families that pay their bonds and rents Absolutely . Of me getting up to work every day . And I , and I think like the idea of what you’re saying is part of the experience of being an entrepreneur is the one of opening up doors for other people.
Andile Khumalo: Absolutely. Like your business, you know, provides legal services. I would much rather ask you to do my legal work than some big fat firm with a tall building incentive <laugh> because I know how much more valuable it is to help your business grow. Even if I just have like one 50 grand job. Yeah . But it’s a 50 grand job is green to an entrepreneur, can employ another person, et cetera .
Eitan Stern: 10 jobs in our practice. Do you know what I mean? <laugh> . Um, so, so I suppose, I mean my question for you there is like, do the ethic , me and you have it , uh, well I’m jumping on your bandwagon, but I think we mean you have it . I think you have it
Andile Khumalo: Though . And
Eitan Stern: Do , do you feel that that’s, I mean what we need is essentially for more people to have that ethic and I , yeah . So I suppose my question for you is, do you see that around you? Do you see that that is the , i that that’s still the ethic in business in South Africa? Are you seeing a I mean, I’ll give the example that I think of. It’s like the most, the richest country on earth is also the most unequal country in the earth. America. It’s like, it’s a marvel to me. Yeah . That, that there’re still poor people in America cuz of how much wealth there is. Yeah . And I think that comes down to an , a thesis and an ethic of the country, right ? Yeah . The American dream is one of, yeah . I can get to the top and it’s not one around sh necessarily share with my, with my neighbor. It’s becoming less, progressively less. So what is the ethic as UCLA in South Africa ? Do you see your colleagues, other businesses that you’re involved in, other business people, do they have that same ethic that you do?
Andile Khumalo: I I , I can’t say it’s a pervasive ethic. Okay. I can say that most of the people I choose to spend my time with are like that. Yes . Um, but I , I , you know, I must say that it is not something that, you know, is an expected thing or is a given from all business people I’ve ever encountered. Mm . I also think that we talk of countries, but you know, countries are pulpa families. Mm . And part of the reason we turn out the way we do is because of how we were brought up. Yeah . So I, I didn’t do those things that I was talking about about my cousins and some of the things I still do now that I don’t always talk about, but I don’t do them because I’m necessarily some special kid and I’ve got this special power. It just doesn’t feel like a big deal to me because this is what I’ve always been Yeah . Exposed to. That’s what we did at home when , when a cousin was going through bad times, they came to stay with us. Yeah . That’s what my grandfather, that’s just what I saw. That’s just how you grew . So, so you just kind of do it because you think this is normal until you meet people and they’re like , uh, actually no we don’t do that. I’ve got a brother I haven’t seen in 10 years because you like, I don’t know swore my wife, I’m like, really? He swo your wife once? You don’t see your brother for 10 years? Are you crazy <laugh> ? So, so like, and then you realize as you get older that you know it’s not. Right. It’s not, everybody’s not the same. Yeah . But it almost doesn’t matter. It almost doesn’t matter that everybody’s not the same because we just need a few of us to be. Exactly . We
Eitan Stern: Just need a few of us. And , and so I suppose the policy idea of what you’re talking about, right? And if you think about our government’s thesis around a socialist , uh, idea of the country from from 94, the , the policy idea that was was black economic empowerment, right? Yeah . It was the trickle down idea. Yeah . That if we can give opportunity to people that didn’t previously, it will see things rise . Yeah . Has it worked and do you think it can work still ?
Andile Khumalo: I think the premise was correct. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, I don’t think that the policymakers were wrong in thinking that if indeed you give opportunity to black people to be part of the economy, that will have a wider, a wider inf effect. Mm-hmm . <affirmative> , keep in mind that be started as a being about ownership. Yeah. We now have got what we call broad based black economic empowerment that has five elements. So when you fill up your BE scorecard, yes. It asks you what is your black ownership, but it also asks you what’s black management, right? So there’s management control all in this . In a balanced scorecard it asks you what support are you giving to small black-owned entities that’s mm-hmm . Enterprise and supply development. Uh , but then ask you what skills development initiatives are you doing? Right. And then lastly, it’d ask you what socioeconomic development work you’re doing. So , so these five things are weighted now. So even if you’re a hundred percent black-owned company at a certain size Yeah . You’re gonna have to prove the other four that you’ve got black managers that you, you , you are upskilling black people, that you are supporting black small businesses and, and , and , and so that is what is achieved the trickle down . Yeah. If it was just about ownership, make underlay a billionaire and hope that Andy is gonna bring on other people. Well we all know that’s not the way most billionaires think. So the only trickle down is we are now almost all compelled. It was , it was almost a license to do business in the country to think about all these other levels. And I upskilling my people cuz you know, if you upskill people that creates opportunity for them. Even if they leave you, they can take that skill and use it somewhere else to get a better job, provide better for their families, take their kids to better schools. And, and um, similar to with the ESD thing, you’re supporting small businesses and I can go on and on and on. Yeah. And even management, like some people are not gonna be entrepreneurs. You know, we , you and I are gonna create the companies or or help build the companies, but other people are gonna be managers. Are you giving black managers, black women managers the opportunity to be at the highest level? Yeah . So that’s where the trickle is meant to happen . Not ,
Eitan Stern: Not . So you’re saying the theory works
Andile Khumalo: That , that, so the theory works and I , I’m a big proponent of be , I I think, and I’ve seen it a couple of times recently where people are saying , oh no, you gotta get rid of black economic impalment. I go, all right , cool. So get rid of it. What then
Eitan Stern: What, what , what’s next? Yeah.
Andile Khumalo: Well come up with a better idea Yeah . Of securing your own future as a middle class man who’s trying to grow, you know , uh, bring up his kid and his family in this country. You can’t keep the poor out of economic activity forever and think you’re gonna be secure. It just can’t be. So you need something. Right. And if be isn’t working, maybe we should fix it. As opposed to, you know, proverbially throwing the baby out to
Eitan Stern: The pothole . It relies on, on governance, implementing it correctly. Right. And
Andile Khumalo: The attitude, I also think that it’s got the wrong attitude. It’s got the wrong vibe . It has the wrong pr. It’s
Eitan Stern: Totally agree. Yeah . Mean
Andile Khumalo: The past nine years it’s been seen as corruption. Right. Like the Gupta and whatever. So it was all on the back of be right. The guy stole because we gave the contract to a black guy. Now all black people are thieves. You know what I mean? So it’s got a bad rep ,
Eitan Stern: It’s quite a bad PR command . You’re totally talking Right . That your be needs is is to be repackaged and res. Absolutely . Because of the theory is still there. So I guess the idea which I’m getting from this is that you still see this opportunity and you see Yeah. You see plenty opportunity. I think you also see the issues that are going around. And South Africa always feels like it’s on the brink, right? Yeah . So maybe that’s just part of this South African consciousness that we always feel like things are about to fall apart. And that’s sad . It’s really sad. It’s sad and it’s, and it’s probably not helpful. And i’s suppose Yeah ,
Andile Khumalo: There’s a lot of stress.
Eitan Stern: All of us . My question for you is that like this energy crisis Yeah. Is , is a , is a big deal. Yeah . Do we achieve the Africa that you’re talking about and reach these goals that you’re talking about before the lights gone ?
Andile Khumalo: I wanna take a bet .
Eitan Stern: You wanna what?
Andile Khumalo: I wanna take a bet. Okay. A thousand round between you now
Eitan Stern: I’m in , I
Andile Khumalo: We are now in 2023.
Eitan Stern: Yeah.
Andile Khumalo: Five years from now. We’ll never crisis.
Eitan Stern: I’m not betting against
Andile Khumalo: That <laugh> . Five years from now we’re not gonna have an literacy crisis. You know why?
Eitan Stern: Why?
Andile Khumalo: Because business people like you and I Yes. Are gonna solve it.
Eitan Stern: Yeah.
Andile Khumalo: They should have let us solve it A long time ago. A long time ago. But five years from now, there will be no crisis in South Africa. We just won’t. We’ll look back and be like, hey, remember the days when like used , we have stage four load shedding and from two hours between eight and 10 at night
Eitan Stern: Be like, remember when there was that lockdown during covid? It just won’t be a thing anymore . And I suppose what you’re saying is that we’ll move on to the next thing like transport or education.
Andile Khumalo: The sad part though, mate , is that it has to get that bad. The same thing with t that we didn’t talk about it earlier, but t is like the new US come for me.
Eitan Stern: Yes. You got these
Andile Khumalo: Mining companies, they can’t get their product out.
Eitan Stern: They’re gonna fix it because
Andile Khumalo: The transport company Yeah. Can’t go and collect the thing, package it, put it on the vessel and it goes out. Like how hard can that be? Let the private sector get in there, they’ll fix it . Just watch.
Eitan Stern: Yeah.
Andile Khumalo: Because we just, we know how to manage these things. That’s how we, that’s why we are trained. That’s , that’s why we went to these. Yeah. But it has universities and stuff. Cause we know how to do this stuff. A poor government employee who’s was in a different , with a different skill .
Eitan Stern: Yeah. Can’t do that. So if the , if the issue’s always coming down to government, what’s, what’s, what’s the answer for you there? Who’s going to , I mean, you sounds like you need a government to allow these , uh, this innovation to happen. What are is, is the government that we have able or capable of doing it or going to do it.
Andile Khumalo: So I don’t think it’s an individual or political party. Yeah . I think it’s an ideology shift.
Eitan Stern: Yeah.
Andile Khumalo: I think back to where we started this conversation, I think the ideology is being forced to change this issue of state control. Na remember when there was nationalized the minds nationalize, the banks nationalize, the soft reserve bank. All of that is slowly starting to find its way into this world of oblivion because it’s just not practical. Well,
Eitan Stern: So , so , and I mean maybe we, I’m I’m taking you, I mean I’m asking you anything today. I really , so , and I realize you’re not the expert in this stuff, but I , but I have your opinions. So opinions I’m not expert. Yeah . I’m gonna ask you don’t mind me asking. Go for. Go . So I mean the conscious , well the talk now is that with the next election, an n C will lose their 50% and they’ll have to align with the e f and the e f . Are the nationalized minds nationalized the banks guys? What happens then? Or do you think that ideology is falling away for them as well? So
Andile Khumalo: Happy you asked me that question. I have this conversation just yesterday. Okay. So I agree that the a c won’t get 50. Okay. The question is how far down from 50 would it go? Wow . Because then the e f and other parties then have a leverage. So the closer to 40 they are the more they probably need an E , f or anybody else for that matter. Or
Eitan Stern: Multiple parties. Yeah.
Andile Khumalo: It could be other parties. Mm-hmm . <affirmative> , the closer they outta to 45 or even 45 and 50, the less they would need a 10, 15% from an e f . Yeah. So I, I don’t think that the ideology, the i , the ideologies of an FF and a C historically are very similar. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, you know, if you talk about the freedom chart and what was in the freedom chart , people always reference the freedom parts about, you know, by the people. For the people they miss the parts where it says you must nationalize the banks must
Eitan Stern: Nationalize the banks
Andile Khumalo: <laugh> . But it’s not cool to talk about that . Right. <laugh> . So the MF and historically same ideologies. Yeah. I think the n c having governed and having seen what those ideologies bring into day-to-day realities of governance Yeah. Has become much , um, uh, much closer to reality than the e ff for sure was never governed. Yes . All they know is to oppose. It’s just , it’s very diff it’s very different. You know, when I , my favorite sport is football. Yeah. I can sit on my couch and shot at my TV
Eitan Stern: <laugh>.
Andile Khumalo: It’s because I know no one’s gonna ask me to go into the field . It’s gonna take that penalty can actually go and take that penalty. Right. I’m you idiot. You missed the penalty. Yeah , I know. I don’t ever have to What if by some creation I’m asked , oh, okay. You think you come and play. It’s a different game. And I think the ff is faced with that. So I don’t think it’s afraid to complete that they c would do a coalition within e f I think everybody’s gonna string everybody along and everybody’s gonna wait until the 11th hour of those results. And the question will be how bad is it? How much do we need them? How bad is it? How much can we talk to somebody else or put it together? But absolutely agree with you. There will be below 50. They will need other parties to get
Eitan Stern: Together over . But do you think the e f so, so, so, and I kind of agree with you right? It’s easy to protest than to, than to govern. But so easy, the a n C had many years to make many mistakes. Do you not think the e f will come in with some, with trying to nationalize banks and minds before they realize
Andile Khumalo: Know my issue ? So, so my , so I I love, I love and observe all political parties. Yeah . You and I can talk all the political parties. Okay . I have a view on all of them. Okay . <laugh> . My view of the ff is that , um, you know, as a kid I was fascinated by, by chape bubble gum .
Eitan Stern: Yes.
Andile Khumalo: Only up until the point the sugar runs out. Yeah .
Eitan Stern: It’s for five seconds
Andile Khumalo: And then what do you do? You spare it up , right ? Yeah . I feel like e f is getting there . Ah , I feel like the sugar’s right now. Okay . So they’ve disrupted all of the state of the nations from Zuma to Yeah . Bosa. They keep getting kicked out of parliament kicking and screaming. Uh , the red parade thing and the overalls and we , we kind of get it now. Yeah. Then what, what’s next?
Eitan Stern: So what’s next
Andile Khumalo: There ? There’s nothing. It just feels like that chap is bubble gum . Yeah . That you’ve been chewing for a while . That was fun in the beginning and exciting.
Eitan Stern: They’re gonna have to get onto something different . And now
Andile Khumalo: It’s just trying to feel a little rubbery in my mouth. Like I feel like I need something else. I need to believe in something. I don’t quite get what, what the promise is and I’m gonna compare them to probably the worst person they wanna be compared to. And that’s the da.
Eitan Stern: Yeah.
Andile Khumalo: The DA is not, is not also like amazing either, but I get the promise the DA only has one promise will govern better.
Eitan Stern: Yes. That’s all they’re
Andile Khumalo: Saying. We’re not , whether they do govern better or not, that’s another debate. But I get the promise, I get the future. I get that. If I choose to vote for them, I’m not gonna probably, I’m probably never gonna get black people governing.
Eitan Stern: Yeah. They’ve, they’ve made that
Andile Khumalo: It’s gonna be white people. Yeah . But hey, even if it’s white people, guess what? We’ll govern better. Yes . Okay . They’ll collect your rubbish streetlights will work. They’ll be interested . See they’ll be water and Yeah. We’ll still take care of my friends. They’re not black shame . Sorry they’re white. But guess what shouldn’t work. <laugh>. I get that. Like I I’m not mad at that. I get it.
Eitan Stern: Yeah. Not a
Andile Khumalo: Great promise . I don’t know what the e f promise is .
Eitan Stern: Yeah. And
Andile Khumalo: Even the a c I get their promise. The n c is like, vote for us, we’ll take care of black people. Mm . We are the party for the black people. We catch you be e tender procurement, free education, free healthcare . We are here for the message . Vote for us. We take care of you. We love you. Not those DA people, they don’t love you.
Eitan Stern: They’re just, and what , what you’re saying is that dff , I get it. The ff we don’t dunno what that she’s saying.
Andile Khumalo: I don’t know what I’m getting bro. Do you know what you’re getting ?
Eitan Stern: No . No. Well no, I know . I know what I’m feeling , feeling
Andile Khumalo: Not getting
Eitan Stern: A position. I know I’m just getting someone who’s
Andile Khumalo: Just against, he’s against all the time. Nothing is good
Eitan Stern: For him. Protesting is protest.
Andile Khumalo: Yeah . When you ask him, okay, you come up with a better idea.
Eitan Stern: Yeah. That’s hard. The
Andile Khumalo: Better idea is this nationalize the banks , you know , really that’s the best
Eitan Stern: Idea. Tough idea.
Andile Khumalo: <laugh> . So I think that’s gonna be hard for them now. Like, you know, how do they say to me the voter vote for me as a as as a governing
Eitan Stern: Party.
Andile Khumalo: Yeah . Not as an opposition. Cuz we get opposition. It’s easy to oppose you say something I just say, I just say against whatever you said . Yeah. I don’t even have to think about it. I don’t even have to have a reason to disagree with you. I can just disagree with you.
Eitan Stern: Um , deal . I’m gonna bring you back into talking about small business life cuz I also realize you , you’re like the busiest guy in , in South Africa. So I realize my time’s limited with you. But on the topic of government, I mean is government, is government supporting small business? Do you think we’ve, I understand from in these these sectors Yeah . Electricity education, they , they might land up , uh, uh, arriving at these points as you’re talking about. Yeah . But what about for small business? Do you feel
Andile Khumalo: Like I think they try, I think they try. My my challenge with governments is probably the departure point , um, of what they see SMEs as their departure point very often is that they see SMEs as the alternative to jobs. Yeah. So the rhetoric will be, oh, you can’t find a job. The economy’s going so slow. Interesting . Yeah. Uh , once you go and start your own business, that is probably the worst piece of advice I can give anybody that needs a job because it is so
Eitan Stern: Hard. It’s tough Yeah. To ,
Andile Khumalo: To start a business. It’s even harder to keep it going. Yeah. You know , um, I I would argue as hard as it is to find a job, it’s probably still a less hard, harder than starting your own business. So I worry about that because you’re kind of selling people dreams, you know, and then, you know, then government will provide the funding and the , the , the very , the many state owned small enterprise type finance , uh, agencies, they’re all struggling to deploy that capital because the propositions that are coming from the masses that are being told could start your own business aren’t strong enough. So the professional people that work in these institutions are receiving these business plans and applications and they’re going, I’m sorry man, I’m , we can’t give you money for this. Yeah. You know, you wanna open another carwash in in an area where there’s like 15 others? No. And the guy’s like, yeah, but you know, government told me I can come to you to get money. So, so, and that’s where the system is, is kind of getting unstuck. People are believing they should start business cause they don’t get in jobs. But because they don’t really wanna start businesses they see sees an alternative. They’re going to these cifa and Cs and IDCs and NFS and all these institutions that are actually meant to be there to support real great business ideas from the masses of the people. And oftentimes 90% they’re stuck in paper of propositions that were never gonna be successful from day one. So they then get stretched and it’s very hard for them to deploy the money. But in short, do I think that they, meanwhile I think government does, meanwhile small businesses, I think it also serves them as a government. You know, you know, the beauty about elections is that if you’re a billionaire, I’m poor at the voting station, we have the same vote. So, so they gotta take care of me because it’s more of me than there’s more of you. So I think they , I think it’s in their interest too . And I think they want to, but I worry about how
Eitan Stern: They want . But it’s actually tough. And if I think , I mean, I have interactions with regulators in my work. Right? Yeah . And, and I , and I, one of the things that I worry about with small businesses who have regulators that fill their job is to say no instead of their job to regulate an industry. Yeah . Give an example. The drone industry. Yeah . Drones. Unbelievable technology. Great promise. You don’t need ’em a trick exemption in order to be a drone pilot. Wow. There’s , there’s, I mean the , the delivery mining. Yeah . Medical there’s endless. But the, our regulator, the CAA have pretty much done a pretty solid job in kind of just saying no to the industry. Yeah . Not allowing any growth. Yeah . I mean, do you see, I mean for me, I see that as quite a big threat to to to small business if you overregulate. Yes . And I think our government’s in the habit of overregulate, it comes from
Andile Khumalo: The ideology, bro. Okay. Same thing. Same thing . The state will provide, the state will control, oh, the private sector wants you to reduce this regulation because there’s this new innovation called drones. So you can’t take this archaic piece of legislation and apply it to drones because you’re now stopping an industry that could create jobs. Oh no. Sorry. That’s what the law says. Tough love . And of course there’s the other problem we have, which is business versus state.
Eitan Stern: Yeah. That’s a big problem. The big
Andile Khumalo: Distrust, you know ? Yeah. So even when we just go and speak, we’ve already seen, like with Shady, we looked at with shady eyes. Yeah. We’re already seen to have ulterior motives and, and so that doesn’t help the conversation because they always feel like we’re pulling a wool over their eyes. Yeah . Or we’re doing something we shouldn’t be doing. Or something suspicious was going on with us. Cause , just cause
Eitan Stern: So how do we end it? How do we get outta that cycle? Oh
Andile Khumalo: Man. I don’t know bro. <laugh> . Cause you see the other thing that overlays, that distrust Yeah . Is, I’m sorry to go back to race again, is that it’s, it’s black government, white business. Yeah. Right.
Eitan Stern: Yeah. So
Andile Khumalo: The distrust is even deeper. Yeah . And then it brings back the history we have of a party .
Eitan Stern: Don’t be sorry to go back to it again. If , if that is , that , is that , that’s where you see a lot of the issues coming up . I think it’s the fundamental issue. Amazing. I I think it’s
Andile Khumalo: A fundamental issue. I think that the black regulator on the other side, DDG or dg, whatever, is just seen as a bunch of white people that are trying to change laws to make themselves rich. He’s not going, wow, you know what? This could create jobs. This could build out way economy . Me Now
Eitan Stern: He’s a missing incentive.
Andile Khumalo: He’s just like, oh, I know you white people or what you want your own private landing strip again or whatever. Yeah . Yeah. So there’s like almost this And you know how it has been , there’s just distrust. It’s like it’s hard to get through anything.
Eitan Stern: No, you’re right. I mean, I never thought of it like that before. I mean, it , it’s , it’s PR and it’s mistrust essentially. It’s like, it’s like white business needs a better PR campaign and black government needs a better PR campaign. They need better communication. You need a , you , you can’t run any system. The two rely on each other and you can’t run, you can’t run a system without trust. And there’s a lack of trust. And maybe, maybe that’s sort of the answer. It’s less one around like practically how do you fix the education system’s? It’s an underlying thing. There’s an
Andile Khumalo: Underlying trust issue.
Eitan Stern: There’s
Andile Khumalo: Interesting , there’s absolutely a trust deficit. And I guess you can only but try , you can only keep lobbing. Yeah . You can only speak , keep speaking to political leaders and politicians about these kind of industries. Industry bodies matter. Um, I mean Cape Town, the city of Cape Town, in my experience just, just a couple of years, I spent more time down here. You , you can almost see that, that it’s, it’s a little bit better. Yeah. The relationship between the provincial government and business. Isn’t that interesting when you go to the race issue? Right. Totally. Whereas, you know, and also I, as a black business person, I’m , I’m, I’m looked at with less suspicion because I’m black. So if I was the face of drones to see c a a , I think there’ll be less mistrust. I’m not suggesting that I’ll get it over the line immediately. No, I got you . But at least you don’t have the , the mistrust issue. Yeah. Right. What’s constantly tripping us up in our country Right. Is and we , we hate to admit it . I know. Cuz it’s uncomfortable. The racial divide is a source of so many unnecessary things. Mm . Just because we just don’t trust
Eitan Stern: Each other. So, so let’s take our thousand round bet in five, 10 years time. Are we , are we finished? Are we over that divide?
Andile Khumalo: Five, 10 years time? You’re not over that divide.
Eitan Stern: How many years?
Andile Khumalo: Maybe decades.
Eitan Stern: Wow. Okay. And dealer , what about talent in South Africa? I mean, you obviously hire a lot of people in your different businesses. Yep . From my perspective, my business communities, my social community, LinkedIn, it feels like people are leaving. Yeah . Talent is, is flying out the door. Ha . Has it always been like that? Do you , are you seeing that as well? Yeah . And a hundred businesses grow if we can’t get talents and maybe it’s not even flying out the door, the globalized world means Amazon can come in and offer double your your the salary of your developers. Do you feel like it’s harder to get talent in South Africa?
Andile Khumalo: It is because we don’t have an unemployment problem. We have an unemployability problem. We have too many people that don’t have a skill to be employed. Yes. If they have a skill, that skill is not in demand by the economy. So I’m part of an organization called Simula and part a small part of our work is to try and get , um, growing an initiative to grow more and more young people who have digital skills only because the market demands it. I was in a hike this morning. I met a guy who’s from Lebanon Mm . Who’s been living in Caton for five years, working for an north SHO company. Mm . I’m like, are you serious? He says , yeah, I work on my computer all day. I don’t work for any South African company I’m on , but I live here
Eitan Stern: In the middle of winter.
Andile Khumalo: So that guy could have been anybody in our country. Yeah . That could have been a South African guy who’s working equally for that, for that company. Yeah. Point I’m making is the talent issue is a function of us not providing the right skills to the young people that need the work, that match the need of the market. And for whatever reason, what is really simple in my head is very complex in reality. We should simply be asking, hello business, what skills do you need? And business will tell you what skills they need. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, to your point, it’s hard to grow a business if people are leaving. We’ll, we can quite easily tell the world what we need. Okay. For the next five years we’re gonna develop these skills. We develop the skills, you match the needs of the market. It’s not that difficult. Yeah . But, but fundamentally that’s our issue in our country, I think. Yeah . I don’t think that you’ve got, you know , uh, a naturally lazy people. I don’t think South Africans don’t wanna work. I think everybody wants to do well for themselves and their families, but the problem is that we’re not matching that, that demand and that supply. Mm-hmm . You know, and um , and it is a worry for me. Absolutely.
Eitan Stern: So then kind of wrap , getting towards wrapping it up, I mean, what’s, what’s next for Andela Kamala ? Are you, I mean my hope is that she’s saying you’re gonna run for office and stop fixing some of these issues from your laughter. I don’t think that’s it. And I mean, what , what’s next for you? What , what do you have on the cards in the next five to 10 years?
Andile Khumalo: Oh man. So, so first of all, I’m trying to get used to living between two cities now. Okay . So
Eitan Stern: We’ve got Cape Town
Andile Khumalo: Job . Yeah . I’m now a Cape Town Joburg nomad of sorts. Okay. Um, that’s interesting for me. I’ve never had to do anything like that before. Okay.
Eitan Stern: Why? What ? Just because you like the ocean or ?
Andile Khumalo: We bought a place here two years ago. Okay. My wife was unsure, but now she likes more than I do
Eitan Stern: <laugh> . What’s the best
Andile Khumalo: Show ? So now I’ve lost my wife to Cape Town, basically
Eitan Stern: <laugh> .
Andile Khumalo: Um, and she’s kind of the more visionary person in the family. So she’s also thinking like empty nest kids are getting, you know, high school, they’re gonna finish school, they’re gonna go to universities anywhere in the world. And Case Wises would be the two of us.
Eitan Stern: So . Well I can say, I mean, you know , so that’s a big change for , you’re sitting here in my office in , in , in running shoes and shorts obviously been on the mountains so it doesn’t look like he’s struggling with the , I’m starting get used to this figure out
Andile Khumalo: Six 30 in the dark hike in the mountains. I’m trying get used to it. Yeah . So that’s gonna be a big thing for me cuz it’s a bit of a change and I’m also looking forward to growing the portfolio. Okay. I can look , my local portfolio will grow. Yeah. I I have a very demanding advisory board of some really, really , um, well accomplished business people that kind of lead me and guide me in , in how I build this out. So I’m , I’m looking to grow that portfolio and I think that, you know, I’m 45 now. Maybe, maybe I’ve got another, I don’t know , maybe 10 years uhhuh of like really active work. Okay. And then after that I’m probably gonna spend more of my time doing the hard work. Okay . Something that just fulfills me personally.
Eitan Stern: Yeah. Does work , the work you do energizes you?
Andile Khumalo: Absolutely. Absolutely. I’m lucky in that. Um, I almost have businesses that give me that, if you know what I mean. Like Yeah . You know, like the work we do at I’m an entrepreneur is just brilliant. We were, a few weeks ago, we spent time in , uh, polo Lepo . We spend time in plume in the free state training entrepreneurs and how to bid around their businesses. You sit in a room with a hundred small business owners and you’re covering a topic like Cashflow management and guys’ eyes are opening up when you show them a , you know, just a simple Excel spreadsheet of how you can plan your cash flows from week to week. Yeah. And you give it to them and you email it to all of them and they get it and they come to you . They’re like, wow, I didn’t know I could do this. You go, wow, that’s power. Yeah. It’s power man’s trick . It’s small to me. Right. It’s not a big deal to me, but to someone who doesn’t know it’s a big deal. Exactly . Exactly . So if we could find a way to do more of that, I think I’ll, I’d live much more fulfilled life .
Eitan Stern: Looks like you’re living a pretty fulfilled life and power to you trying to do it. Thanks , ad Thank you. Thanks for joining me. Yeah . This was the most interesting conversation and consider me inspired going thank you . Into the long weekend. Thank so I really appreciate it.
Andile Khumalo: Thanks for doing this ire . Really appreciate it.
Eitan Stern: This podcast is recorded by Simon Atwell. The intro music is by PH Fat . I’m your host Eitan Stern. For more information about legalese , catch us on www.legalese .co. za or on the socials.