- Company: Africa Rainbow Minerals
- Year of birth: 1962
- Last known country of residence: South Africa
Patrice Tlhopane Motsepe is the founder and executive chairman of a mineral company called African Rainbow Minerals. His personal fortune makes him one of South Africa’s wealthiest billionaires, and Africa’s first black billionaire. He also holds the position of non-executive chairman at Harmony Gold and deputy chairman of financial service group, Sanlam. In 2016, he launched a private equity firm, African Rainbow Capital, a subsidiary of Ubuntu-Botho Investments. In 2013, Motsepe was the first African to sign the Giving Pledge; he promised to give at least half his fortune to charity.
Starting from humble beginnings, Motsepe grew up working in his father’s informal shop close to a mine. This exposed him to the mining industry, and also gave him his first taste of entrepreneurship. He studied at the University of Swaziland, earning a Bachelor of Arts degree before completing his law degree at the University of the Witwatersrand. He started his career working for Bowman Gilfillan, a prestigious law firm where he specialized in mining and business law. Motsepe was the first black partner in the firm.
Taking advantage of opportunities made available by the political changes in South Africa affected by Nelson Mandela, Motsepe launched Future Mining, a company that provided mine scut work services on a contract basis to established mining companies. In 1997, he acquired several smaller gold mines from AngloGold for just under $8 million. This and several subsequent purchases of operating mines laid the foundation for the creation of Africa Rainbow Minerals. In 2002, Africa Rainbow Minerals was listed on the JSE and shortly afterward, merged with Harmony Gold Mining. The new company was changed to ARMgold.
Motsepe is the founder of several wholly owned subsidiaries including African Rainbow Minerals Platinum, ARM Consortium Limited, which was subsequently co-owned with Anglo American Platinum Corp Ltd. In 2005 Motsepe was named Chairman of Teal Exploration and Mining. As the founder of Ubuntu-Botho Investments, Motsepe partnered with financial services and insurance company Sanlam to create a private equity firm that focused on wholly African investments.
While many have pointed to the introduction of new Black Economic Empowerment laws introduced to South Africa, post-apartheid, as being one of the key factors in Motsepe’s success, he has achieved his success in the mining and latterly investment markets due to his entrepreneurial skills more than anything. In his earliest ventures, he introduced a system of remuneration for his mine employees that included a lower base salary combined with profit sharing bonuses that helped drive productivity and profits for Future Mining and Africa Rainbow Minerals. He was the chairman of the Black Business Council in South Africa and is one of the founders of Business Unity SA (BUSA), an advocacy and lobby group. He has received several awards for entrepreneurship and is on the Forbes List of Billionaires.
Motsepe is married and has three children. His wife Dr. Precious Moloi is currently co-chair of The Motsepe foundation, a foundation dedicated to providing grants in education, development forums and women in business.