Patrice Motsepe will become president of the Confederation of African Football (Caf) on Friday when South Africa enter Morocco unseeded.

Motsepe is known as one of the richest men in Africa and is also the owner of the 2016 African champions, Mamelodi Sundowns – but who is behind the money? Pumza Filani takes a look:

Many people know the expression Keeping up with the Joneses, but do you know the expression Keeping up with the Moses?

It should be, because according to Forbes magazine, Patrice Motsepe is the ninth largest man in Africa and one of the country’s first black billionaires.

As founder and chairman of African Rainbow Minerals, he became a billionaire in 2008 – Forbes called him the first African to achieve that.

His rise to fame and fortune has not gone unnoticed by blacks in a country where repressive apartheid laws have for decades excluded the majority of the population from a good life, let alone business opportunities.

Today I not infrequently hear from parents who are too tired to ask for money that I am not Motsepe, or from people who jokingly say that I am Motsepe’s son or daughter when they have a little money to play with after their wages.

In short, he has become the embodiment of wealth, and all kidding aside, for many people this means Patrice Motsepe exists.

It is a reminder of what is possible. So how did Motsepe make its billions?

Buy cheap, but aim high

Motsepe founded its first mining company in 1994 and began buying up low-producing gold mines a few years later at a time when the gold market was in the doldrums and prices were low.

His Mamelodi Sundowns became only the second South African team to win the African Champions League in 2016.

These mines were soon converted and became profitable.

Its major breakthrough is closely linked to the policy of black economic empowerment, introduced in South Africa to address the inequalities created by decades of white minority apartheid rule, which ended in 1994.

Mining companies had to be at least 26% owned by blacks before they could get an operating license.

Since then, Motsepe’s mining empire has grown to include interests in cobalt, nickel, iron ore, copper and coal.

Homemade men

Motsepe was born on the 28th. January 1962 to Patrice Lumumba, the first elected prime minister of what is now the Democratic Republic of Congo.

As a young man, he first learned about entrepreneurship from his father Augustine Motsepe, a member of the Tswana royal family.

The boss owned a spa (a type of shop popular in South African townships) in Hammanskraal, near the capital Pretoria.

Patrice Motsepe and his wife Precious have close political links to the ANC.

During the school holidays he worked alongside his father and began to learn the basics of the trade.

A few years later, he graduated from law school and became the first black partner in one of the largest law firms in the country, Bowman Gilfillan.

The father of three also holds a degree in mining and business law from the University of Johannesburg Witwatersrand.

With an estimated wealth of $3 billion (£2.15 billion), Motsepe is now a mining tycoon, investor and owner of Pretoria’s Mamelodi Sundowns, who have won a record 10 titles since the South African Premier Football League began in 1996.

It seems that Motseppe is not only good at amassing wealth, but he also likes to give it away, as he has a lot of work to do to revive the ailing cafe.

Through his foundation, the philanthropist supports various projects in the fields of education and healthcare, although his love of learning may come from being raised by teaching parents.

In 2013, Motsepe became the first African to sign the Bill Gates and Warren Buffett Giving Pledge, pledging to give at least half of his wealth to charity.

Motsepe close to power – seen here between South African President Cyril Ramaphosa and former US President Barack Obama in 2018.

Last year, his Motsepe Foundation pledged 1 billion rand ($65.6 million) to fight the coronavirus pandemic in South Africa.

Married to Precious Motsepe, a doctor and businesswoman, the future vice-president of Fifa is no stranger to the world of politics.

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa is married to his older sister, while Jeff Radebe, the country’s top minister, is married to his other sister.

Although everything Motsepe touches seems to turn to gold, he became the target of some political parties who claimed that his powerful family ties gave him an unfair advantage.

But he distanced himself from the allegations, adding that he has always been of the money and his wealth was not bad.

Africa loves the Trump argument

Although Motsepe’s surname rarely leads to controversy, he was the subject of a storm of protest on social media last year for a comment he made at the World Economic Forum dinner in Davos.

In January 2020, he told then US President Donald Trump: Africa loves America, Africa loves you – a comment that clearly pleased the controversial statesman.

Yet it sparked outrage at the time because of Trump’s seemingly insensitive handling of the Black Lives Matter protests in his country. Mr. Motsepe then apologized and said he had no right to speak on behalf of anyone but himself.

Motsepe (2L) was elected on Friday following the resignation of Augustin Senghor (L), Ahmed Yahya (2R) and Jacques Anouma (R).

His life has been marked by many firsts, with the billionaire described as a savvy businessman looking for the next big thing.

It will not necessarily resemble Caf, as the organization is in need of a thorough overhaul, given its questionable finances, corrupt associations due to its predecessor’s ban, and poor image in the eyes of donors and the public.

Having repeatedly stressed the need to inject private funds into the Caf’s coffers, the tycoon now faces one of the biggest challenges of all: restoring confidence in one of Fifa’s most embattled federations.

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