Meet South Africa’s First Black Billionaire Gunning For CAF Presidency

Patrice Motsepe, founder and chairman of African Rainbow Minerals Ltd., speaks during the Milken Institute Global Conference in Beverly Hills, California, U.S., on Tuesday, April 30, 2019. The conference brings together leaders in business, government, technology, philanthropy, academia, and the media to discuss actionable and collaborative solutions to some of the most important questions of our time. Photographer: Patrick T. Fallon/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The candidacy of South Africa’s Patrice Motsepe for the top office of Africa’s football governing body, CAF has left many football followers in the continent surprised.

Motsepe, the third richest man in South Africa and its first black billionaire is imagined by many to be running business corporations that may sponsor football competitions. He became a billionaire in 2008, and when he announced he will rather be at the helm of affairs of football in Africa, Motsepe’s ambition became a very interesting story.

Initial doubts were cast at his chances, considering that now-suspended President, Ahmad Ahmad was running, but in recent months, his stake has risen and his name has made the rounds more often.

Ahmad was suspended for alleged involvement in corrupt practices, and this is believed to be an opportunity for Motsepe to pounce.

Backed by a powerful fraternity in African football, the business mogul stands a good chance of hitting the target at the very first attempt.

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Who Is Motsepe?

Born in 1962 in Soweto Township, South Africa, Motsepe comes from a royal family in Tswana tribe of the Southern African nation.

He learnt the art of trade and business from his father before enrolling for a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Swaziland (now University of Eswatini).

Motsepe proceeded to the Witswatersrand University, where he was the only black man as he earned a degree in Mining and Business Law.

A big beneficiary of South Africa’s post-apartheid era, Motsepe, who had grown his law firm soon moved into the mining business, establishing the Future Mining in 1994 at the age of 32.

In 1997, he became the first black South African to own a mining company after the establishment of African Rainbow Minerals Gold Limited.

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Motsepe’s mining business is arguably the biggest in the country as he reaped huge benefits from programmes designed to emancipate and empower blacks in South Africa.

Motsepe has received strong backing from South African President, Cyril Ramaphosa as he aims to rule African football. His elder sister is married to the President while others are linked with political bigwigs in the country.

Known as a philanthropist, Motsepe is the only South African who has joined Bill Gates and Warren Buffet’s “Giving Pledge”. Seven years ago, he declared half of his wealth will go to charity.

Motsepe has seen Mamelodi Sundowns rise in stock since he became Chairman in 2004. The Brazilians won the CAF Champions League in 2016 and have regularly played in the continent for some years now.

The candidacy of the billionaire football administrator and businessman has divided opinions in the continent with the politics of leadership also playing out at the highest level.

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Some football associations in the continent have shown support to the South African as he faces Mauritania’s Ahmed Yahya, Ivory Coast’s Jacques Anouma and Ahmad, if he’s allowed to run after his appeal.

Election for CAF Presidency is billed to hold in 2021.

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