South Africa’s business magnet, Patrice Motsepe has paid glowing tribute to the people of Zambia and other countries in the Southern African region for contributing to building his business empire.
Mr. Motsepe, who is founder and Executive Chairman for South African based African Rainbow Minerals (ARM) which has a 50 : 50 per cent share in Konkola North copper mine with the world’s second largest miner, Vale, was speaking yesterday when he met over 80 kings and chiefs at the 2016 ARM Broad-based Economic Empowerment (BBEE) Trust and Motsepe Foundation meeting in Sandton, Johannesburg.
The traditional rulers were drawn from Zambia, South Africa, Lesotho, Swaziland, Zimbabwe, Namibia and Botswana, among others. The meeting also included representatives from religious organisations, churches and civil society organisations.
Zambia was represented by Paramount Chief Chitimukulu, Chief Mumena and Chief Madzimawe. Invited guests included Zambia’s High Commissioner to South Africa, His Excellency Mr. Emmanuel Mwamba and other diplomats accredited to South Africa; Dr. Tshepo Ramaphosa, wife of South Africa’s Deputy President, Mr. Cyril Ramaphosa, and King Goodwill Zwelithini of the Zulu in Kwa Zulu-Natal province.
“People of Zambia, Botswana, Lesotho, Swaziland, Zimbabwe, South Africa and other countries in the region are important to us because they are the ones who have made us who we are. This is why we realise that we need to give back to the community,” Mr. Motsepe said.
Mr. Motsepe and his wife Dr. Precious Motsepe, personally handed out cheque donations ranging from R325, 000 to R2 million, to various organisations and churches being supported under the BBEE Trust.
A number of ARM, community development efforts are delivered through the ARM BBEE Trust, which was established with the primary objective of contributing to the improvement of the living conditions of the poor and marginalised persons. The ARM BBEE Trust provides funding to various provincial rural trusts throughout South Africa. The provincial trusts were established by ARM to fund various education, health, welfare and enterprise development projects.
According to Forbes, the 54 year-old Mr. Motsepe is Africa’s first black billionaire after attaining the feat in 2009.
Speaking off the cuff and in an emotional speech, Mr. Motsepe noted that there were a lot of people who had “very little in this world. These are people who sacrifice even when knowing that they may not have a decent meal the next time. Yet they still give. These are the people who encourage us to do what we do.”
Mr. Motsepe has also condemned segregation of people, particularly by world leaders, based on religious faith and other beliefs.He called for deliberate action by individuals in positions of influence that will bring people together regardless of their beliefs or race.
He said his Foundation was honoured to have been graced by the presence of the kings and chiefs because “we want to respect the role of traditional leaders and we want our children to grow up respecting their culture.”
And South Africa’s Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, Mr Senzeni Zokwana, who was guest of honour, commended Mr. Motsepe and his Foundation for the initiative pointing out that there was need for the world to unite so that it could effectively tackle the challenges it was faced with.
Congress of Traditional Leaders of South Africa (CONTRALESA) president, Chief Setlamorago Thobejane urged other wealthy businesses and individuals to emulate Mr. Motsepe and give back to the community.
Chief Thobejane said CONTRALESA has been observing and believed that Mr. Motsepe’s generosity was nothing but something that came from his heart.
“If only all those who control the wealth of South Africa could be like you, we could have been a great nation. We call on others to emulate you as they cannot continue making profits out of the 50 million South Africans without giving back,” he said.