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Motsepe is one of SA's richest men

By unknown | Oct 08, 2007 | COMMENTS [ 0 ]

Lihle Z Mtshali

Lihle Z Mtshali

A near-disaster at a Harmony Gold mine on the West Rand last week has sparked off fresh calls for more stringent safety measures within the country's mines.

About 3200 miners were trapped more than 2km under ground in a 40-hour drama that started in the early hours of Wednesday morning.

Patrice Motsepe is Harmony's chairman and he has admitted there is a need to drastically improve mine safety.

"We have to recommit ourselves to refocus on safety in this country. Our safety record both as a company and as an industry leaves much to be desired," he said.

Motsepe is the chairman of African Rainbow Minerals (ARM), which since 2003 has held a 16percent interest in Harmony Gold, the fifth largest gold producer in the world.

He was born 45 years ago in Johannesburg and was named after Patrice Lumumba, the first prime minister of the Republic of Congo. His second name, Tlhopie, means the chosen one.

He comes from the royal Motsepe tribe, which is based in Ga-rankuwa, north of Pretoria. His uncle is head of the tribe, which would make Motsepe a prince.

He started boarding school at the tender age of five and after high school he went on to study law, a dream he had held since he was eight-years-old.

In 1994 he became the first black lawyer to be made a partner at the firm Bowman Gilfillan.

Today he is one of the most successful of the new generation of black South African mining entrepreneurs and his worth has been placed at more than $500million.

He is believed to be South Africa's richest black person.

Most people know him as the passionate soccer lover who owns Premier Soccer League champions Mamelodi Sundowns, but Motsepe is also an avid Blue Bulls supporter.


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