Patrice Motsepe, Chairman A.R.M.

From the World Economic Forum’s brainstorming, we now go to real action with South Africa’s first billionaire and Chairman of African Rainbow Minerals, Patrice Motsepe.

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Coming from a divided country, from a nation where discrimination brought deep wounds for so long – it would have been easy for Motsepe to just think of himself. At any rate, Motsepe like many wealthy Africans had his riches mainly coming from mining.

In his case, he got his first exposure to mining and the basics of business through his father’s Spaza shop which was then popular with black mining workers. Consequently, being a lawyer who’s practicing mining and business law, he rode the tides; and in 1994, he was timely aided by the new government’s promotion of black empowerment and entrepreneurship which commissions mining companies to be at least 26% black-owned – Motsepe then ultimately made it Big.

Through all these, what are the most noteworthy facts about Patrice Motsepe?

Worker Remuneration

When he founded a mining services venture, his implementation of a compensation system that combined a low-based salary with profit-sharing showed not only his business acumen but his heart for his fellowmen as well. This is just a simple move yet how many would truly share profits with the lowly? Hence, it’s something that gave his workers hope and inspiration to do better.

Wealth Accumulation

Being one of the richest specially in not so advanced countries, wealth often comes with some controversies.

In 2008 when Forbes listed Motsepe as the 503rd wealthiest person, it was opined that the origin of his wealth was not really through entrepreneurship but through his association with the ruling political party, the ANC.

Wait. If ever, how many wouldn’t do the same? Man always tries to seek an advantage – whether political, professional, whatever – that’s why there’s this practice called “networking”. What’s more important is fairness and competence. Thus, only go for challenges that you really have the guts for.

Wealth Distribution

Inspired by Bill Gates and Warren Buffet who are emboldening billionaires to donate to charity, Motsepe declared to give half of his wealth to the poor. This money will be managed by his foundation, the Motsepe Foundation. And key would be incorruptible channels and managers, and consummately, prepared recipients.

If you think about it, how much is Motsepe’s wealth compared to Gates or Buffet? Say, if either one gives $1B, they still have so much left. No wonder, they could easily suggest. But for Motsepe, though he’d still remain a billionaire as well, $1B would make a dent. Now though Gates and Buffet could be commended for their suggestion, there’s no doubt that Motsepe made the real sacrifice.

Indeed, the spirit of “Ubuntu” – an African belief that individuals need other people to be fulfilled – makes leaders worthy Leaders.

What’s your take?

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2 thoughts on “Patrice Motsepe, Chairman A.R.M.

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