Borrowing a page from the book of Bill Gates and Warren Buffet, one of the wealthiest black people in Africa has vowed to give away half of his multibillion-dollar fortune
According to The Sowetan newspaper, mining magnate Patrice Motsepe said he and his wife, Dr. Precious Moloi-Motsepe, will donate the money to such worthy endeavors as the funding of rural development projects and helping the poor with education and health issues.
Forbes Magazine estimated Motsepe’s net worth at $2.65 billion and noted that he is the fourth-richest man in South Africa and the sixth-wealthiest on the African continent. However, TimesLive of South Africa estimated this net worth at about $3.3 billion.
“We want to build a track record where ordinary South Africans can really feel that they are making a difference,” Mr. Motsepe said in a press conference announcing his decision.
“Let me emphasize that the challenges are huge. … We are not going to allow you [poor South Africans] to suffer alone.”
Motsepe has signed up with The Giving Pledge, the philanthropic organization that includes Buffet, Gates and other billionaires who have vowed to donate their money to charity.
Motsepe, who the BBC described as South Africa’s first and only black billionaire, added: "I decided quite some time ago to give at least half the funds generated by our family assets to uplift poor and other disadvantaged and marginalized South Africans, but was also duty-bound and committed to ensuring that it would be done in a way that protects the interests and retains the confidence of our shareholders and investors. … South Africans are caring, compassionate and loving people.”
Motsepe’s wife, Precious, told BBC that she hopes that her husband’s largesse would counter the image of Africans being unable to help themselves.
"Yes, we've got challenges but we also have an opportunity, particularly in this century, to turn our continent around and portray Africa in a positive light," she said.
"We can begin to do things for ourselves that show the world that not only are we recipients of aid, but we can also begin to do things for ourselves.”
Since 2005, the Sowetan reported, Motsepe has handed out an estimated 85 million South African Rand (about $9.4 million), including R10 million to rural communities and churches just last year.
Trained as an attorney, Motsepe was born in the notorious Soweto township outside Johannesburg. His public company, African Rainbow Minerals (PINK: AFRBY), owns interests in platinum, gold, coal and other minerals. He also owns the Mamelodi Sundowns soccer club.
Palash has worked as a business journalist for 21 years in New York.