Patrice Motsepe was born in Soweto, South Africa on January 28, 1962. This 54 year old is South Africa’s first and only billionaire. According to FORBES’ Realtime Billionaire Scoreboard, Motsepe is worth $1.5 billion dollars. Motsepe was not always a billionaire, in fact he started off at as a teacher. Soon turning his attention to the business world he founded his own personal small business, Spaza Shop. Spaza Shop was the foundation for Motsepe to learn first hand the ins and outs of the mining industry which was the stepping stone for his success.
The Gold Industry
After graduating from the University of Swaziland, and finishing up his law degree at the University of the Witwatersand, he became the very first black partner in the Bowman Griffin Law Firm in 1994. Specializing in mining and business law, Motsepe soon invested in a program to clean gold dust from mine shafts offering shared profit margins and worker remuneration.
In 1997, when the gold industry was in a lull, Motsepe saw an opportunity to invest in the gold mine industry, purchasing several mines from AgnloGold, triggering a series of gold mine deals that would ultimately set up Motsepe for his future wealth and success.
African Rainbow Minerals
African Rainbow Minerals offers a wide range of mine interests, including the mining of platinum, iron, coal, copper, and gold. According to ARC’s website, their strategy focuses on combining strategy with sustainability, citing “Informed by our material issues – the factors that have the greatest impact on our ability to create long-term sustainable value – our strategy is to position ourselves as a partner of choice, constantly engaging with our joint venture partners during the ordinary course of business, as we strive to create competitive value for our shareholders and all our stakeholders. With our ability to maintain a competitive cost position for each of our operations entrenched in our strategy, all divisions are encouraged and incentivised to pursue cost reduction initiatives in order to mitigate above inflation cost increases. Integrating sustainability into our activities, we implement our strategy within the context of our responsibility to comply with all relevant legislation, generate returns for investors, uplift our communities and maintain the highest standards of ethical behavior and corporate governance.”
More on Motsepe
Considered one of the most successful black men in South Africa, Motsepe was the first black billionaire in South Africa as well as the first black man to open a mining company. In addition to mining, Motsepe also has a passion for football and in 2003 he bought out 51 shares of the Mamelodi Sundowns. One year later, he purchased the remaining shares of the club becoming the sole owner of his very own soccer team.
Motsepe also has a heart for charity, reportedly donating over half of his wealth to various charities, making him one of the world’s most generous billionaires. Most of his donations go to organizations founded on health and education, issues that Motsepe feels have the biggest impact on South Africans. Motsepe is known for his business expertise, but he also holds a law degree, has ties to royalty in the Tswana tribe, and is known for leading a modest life.
As this billionaire continues to invest in his home country, offer fair wages, profit sharing, and donating millions of dollars each year to better the lives of his fellow countrymen, it is no wonder so many are in awe of his accomplishments. Motsepe is a true rags to riches story, and one that focuses on helping those around him and improving the lives of millions.