Tycoon Tim wants to help fight poverty

TIMOTHY Tebeila, 43, believed to be one of Limpopo's wealthiest men, has not allowed his riches to change who he is.

TIMOTHY Tebeila, 43, believed to be one of Limpopo's wealthiest men, has not allowed his riches to change who he is.

Tebeila committed himself to this interview on a Sunday while he was on his way to the final of the Fifa Confederations Cup at Coca-Cola Park at Doornfontein.

Fast forward to a Tuesday and Tebeila was calling from his offices in Plein Street in Jozi to say he was ready for the interview.

On our arrival he personally came out to open the gate for us. He welcomed us warmly and made sure we conducted the interview in comfortable surroundings.

He got the interview off to a good start by telling yours truly about his life while growing up in rural Limpopo.

He also told me how passionate he was about helping needy people and communities.

Tebeila is married to Pollet and the couple have two children. He has also adopted his late sister's child. Though Tebeila was born in Limpopo, he now lives in Johannesburg where the headquarters of his businesses are based.

"I am based in Johannesburg so that I can meet investors and source new business.

"Most of my business operations are in the rural areas of Limpopo and Mpumalanga. I also do a lot of work in North West.

"I shuttle to Limpopo like a migrant worker because of work but my heart will always be in Limpopo, with the provinces's people."

Limpopo's equivalent of Gauteng's Patrice Motsepe, Tebeila does not mind to take time off from his hectic schedule to assist the poor and needy with food parcels, blankets and other resources.

The mining magnate is reported to be worth R1billion, but the humble Tebeila flatly refuses to talk about how much he is worth.

"I am comfortable with a lot of business interests," is all he was prepared to say.

Not only does Tebeila assist people from Limpopo, he also helps the needy from other provinces to achieve their goals of making a success of their lives.

A humble guy who loves people, Tebeila gets emotional when he sees people struggling.

Among those he has helped is popular gospel musician Sechaba. Tebeila has taken him under his wing to ensure that his music career develops to its fullest.

"One thing I am passionate about is human development. I would like to see poor people from rural areas stand on their own feet and develop their own businesses," he said.

Tebeila said he had, as part of his social responsibility involvement, established the Tim Tebeila Foundation, which helps feed the needy, including pensioners, the disabled and the youth in Limpopo.

From humble beginnings in rural Sekhukhune, Tebeila began his schooling in his home village of Mohlaletsi.

He proceeded to Sekhukhune College of Education, where he qualified as a teacher.

He worked as an educator for a number of years before venturing into the world of brokering.

He worked for Sanlam until he established his own insurance company, Morethi Insurance Brokers, which focused on pensioners. Tebeila said this was because other insurance companies saw pensioners as uninsurable.

Tebeila has vast business interests in a number of provinces.

He is chairperson of Sekoko Resources, which is a major shareholder of Firestone Energy, which is listed in Australia and on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange.

He also operates Tebcon Developers, a company established for building projects in Gauteng, Limpopo, Mpumalanga and North West.

Tebeila also sponsors a number of students from disadvantaged communities in Limpopo to further their studies in various institutions of higher learning.

"I pay fees for a number of students at the universities of Limpopo, Wits and Medunsa.

"I also pay fees for a graduate student who is currently studying in London," he said.

In April Tebeila donated R7million to his father's church in his home village.

Tebeila also owns FC Tebcon which campaigns in the Vodacom League. His ambition, he claims, is to buy the status of a Premier Soccer League team "for the sake of the people of Limpopo."

He recently sponsored more than 1000 food parcels for needy families in Sekhukhune.

Tebeila informed yours truly that he has immediate interests in a coal-mining project in the Waterberg area.

He also has another iron ore project in the pipeline in the Capricorn district, a coal-to-liquid plant and an independent power station near the Medupe Power Station in Lephalale.

Tebeila had this message for the average man in the street: "Listen to your heart. The voice in your heart is the voice of God.

"As you move on, source advice from the elders. Try and live your dream. If you can't dream it, then you cannot do it."

The easygoing Tebeila is a people's person who is passionate about human development.