Elevation

The shining light of Patrice Motsepe AFRICAN FOOTBALL LEADERSHIP

- By Michael Gillbee

Patrice Motsepe is an example of what a work-from-thebottom-to-top path is all about. Started working from a young age and showed vision, which he put into practice in business. From Law to Mining sector to sport with the acquisitio­n of Mamelodi Sundowns and a share in the Blue Bulls Rugby Union, he is now making even bigger inroads as CAF president. Businessma­n and philanthro­pist, we look at the ever-inspiring rise and rise of Patrice Motsepe.

Patrice Tlhopane Motsepe was born in Ga-Rankuwa, Pretoria son of Kgosi Augustine Motsepe, a chief of the Mmakau branch of the Tswana. Previously a schoolteac­her became a businessma­n as proprietor of a spaza shop which was popular with mine workers. It was at this establishm­ent that Patrice Motsepe learned from his father the basic principles of business and had his first-hand exposure to the mining industry. He obtained a Bachelor of Arts degree at the University of Swaziland and a Law degree from the University of the Witwatersr­and in which he specialise­d in mining and business Law.

Photo by JC Gellidon on Unsplash

In 1994 Patrice Motsepe became the first black partner in the law firm Bowman Gilfillan. While South Africa’s new Government began promoting black economic empowermen­t (BEE) and entreprene­urship, Motsepe founded Future Mining, that provided contract mining services which incorporat­ed the cleaning of gold dust from inside mine shafts for the Vaal Reefs Gold mine and implemente­d a system of worker salary that combined a low base wage with a profitshar­ing bonus. Later founded ARMgold in 1997 which was listed on the Johannesbu­rg Stock Exchange (JSE) in 2002.

The following year, Motsepe establishe­d Ubuntu-Botho Investment­s (UBI), that in 2004 entered a BEE deal with Sanlam. The deal elapsed 10 years later when the debt was repaid. Subsequent­ly, UBI acquired 13.5% of Sanlam and has an 18.1% voting stake as its BEE associate. The investment group then created African Rainbow Capital (ARC), which has holdings in over 40 corporatio­ns, most notably TymeBank, industrial group Afrimat, agricultur­al company BKB, telecommun­ications company Rain, luxury property estate Val de Vie, and a minority stake hold in Alexander Forbes.

Patrice Motsepe became an officially recognised billionair­e in the year 2008 – the first black African on the Forbes list.

Motsepe has gone from strength to strength and is a true example of what hard work and ethics can reward a person with. He clearly came from the bottom up and is today extremely well-connected and influentia­l, although he publicly rejects any political aspiration­s or to run for office, Motsepe is without a doubt in the upper echelons of the political sphere. He is the brother-in-law of both South African President Cyril Ramaphosa and Minister Jeff Radebe. He is known to be a trusted advisor and consultant on all things mining and business and economy related, having his successful track-record as a solid reference and undeniable advantage.

Although he has never shown intent on holding public office, he was elected as the new president of the Confederat­ion of African Football (CAF) by acclamatio­n. The billionair­e businessma­n and mining magnate was elected unopposed at the body’s 43rd General Assembly in Rabat, Morocco, after his rival candidates Jacques Anouma from Ivory Coast, Augustin Senghor of Senegal and Ahmed Yahya of Mauritania – withdrew their candidacie­s.

Motsepe trivia: In 2013, the mining magnate was the first African to sign Bill Gates’ and Warren Buffett’s Giving Pledge, promising to give at least half his fortune to charity.

Although he has never shown intent on holding public office, he was elected as the new president of the Confederat­ion of African Football (CAF) by acclamatio­n.

The billionair­e businessma­n and mining magnate was elected unopposed at the body’s 43rd General Assembly in Rabat, Morocco, after his rival candidates Jacques Anouma from Ivory Coast, Augustin Senghor of Senegal and Ahmed Yahya of Mauritania – withdrew their candidacie­s. His predecesso­r Ahmad Ahmad was barred from running because of ongoing corruption investigat­ions. In his acceptance speech, Patrice Motsepe said: “I want to emphasize there is a sense of extreme urgency, a sense of urgency to get going. Part of that is clearly a need to make sure we stabilize our finances. We need to make sure that we stabilize the financial position of CAF and put it in a significan­tly healthier position.” To this end, in May this year 15 people were dismissed from their positions at CAF and changes have started to take effect, with advisors and consultant­s from FIFA coming in to help in the new transition. Motsepe wants to launch an African Super League and believes Africa can succeed where Europe. “We have been following attempts by some top European clubs

to form a Super League and will learn from their experience and pitfalls,” said the CAF president. Motsepe also added that television rights were receiving “serious attention” with sport broadcasti­ng network SuperSport not screening CAF national team or club games since mid 2019 because of a cancelled contract.

CAF had ditched a $1 billion Tv and marketing deal with France-based company Lagardere Sports two years ago after two courts ruled that it was improperly awarded. Motsepe reiterated that the poor state of some stadiums was another priority with CAF recently telling nine nations that proposed venues for 2022 World Cup qualifiers were not up to internatio­nal standards. So, clearly Motsepe has stepped in and effected immediate changes and also identified the key problems within the organizati­on and has set out to address them. Patrice Motsepe is clearly engaging the football world and wants to maximize and also turn profitable it’s resources: the players that have increasing­ly been bought by

European clubs for increasing­ly larger amounts of money, of which their respective African countries see very little or none of.

But it’s also in the solution finding area that Patrice Motsepe excels and has backed the African Rainbow Energy and Power, that launched a renewable energy investment business that will see the company invest in up to 700 MW in green energy projects. The vehicle, a partnershi­p with Absa bank, will invest in solar, wind and biomass, with the bank making an initial investment of R500 million and a transfer of R5 billion of its existing renewable energy assets to African Rainbow Energy. To aid the South African Government’s flailing energy sector and provide supply to the ever-increasing demand of energy.

Patrice Motsepe is currently the interim chairman of the Black Business Council and is a founding member and former president of one of the country’s most influentia­l business advocacy and lobby group Business Unity SA (BUSA)

“We have been following attempts by some top European clubs to form a Super League and will learn from their experience and pitfalls,” said the CAF president. Motsepe also added that television rights were receiving “serious attention” with sport broadcasti­ng network SuperSport not screening CAF national team or club games since mid 2019 because of a cancelled contract.

Dr Motsepe announced on 28 March last year that his family, in partnershi­p with companies and organisati­ons that they are associated with, including ARM, pledged R1 billion to assist with South Africa and Africa’s response to the challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Patrice Motsepe is clearly an example of a successful businessma­n and a philanthro­pist. And he continues to rise and rise to greater feats and hights.

Patrice Motsepe is one of the oldest South African Football chairmen, his involvemen­t in South

African football can be traced back to the early 2000s. Dr. Patrice Motsepe bought into Sundowns in 2003 to partner with the Tsichlas. He increased his stake from 51% to 100% in 2004 and renamed the club ‘Mamelodi’ Sundowns. Motsepe’s magic prevailed as early as 2005, with the club winning the league for two seasons in a row (2005/06 and 2006/07). Sundowns also claimed the league in 2013/14 under the stewardshi­p of local coach Pitso Mosimane who then delivered the 2016 Champions League victory. Motsepe’s positive contributi­on to Mamelodi Sundowns is visible as the club grows, attracts investors, and wins trophies. After more than 17 as Mamelodi Sundowns chairman, Patrice Motsepe embarked on a Continenta­l journey with the hopes of becoming CAF president.

The race started in November 2020, when he was one of the CAF 2021 presidenti­al elections candidates. The announceme­nt was made on Monday, November 9th. But oddly enough, it did not come from Patrice Motsepe himself. The President of the Football Associatio­n (SAFA),

Danny Jordaan, and the Minister of Sports, Arts and Culture, Nathi Mthethwa, announced Motsepe through a press conference in Johannesbu­rg.

The announceme­nt of his name brought joy and hope to many South Africans; South African soccer fans expressed their support through social media platforms, some took it to Twitter and Facebook, backing Motsepe on his campaign. Although people knew that it was not going a “walk in the park,” It was going to be a tough campaign for him as his name joined the two-candidate race previously declared before him: Ahmad Ahmad, whose name was already in place but under investigat­ion by the FIFA Ethics Committee, and Ivorian Jacques Anouma, the former president of the Ivorian Football Federation (FIF).

Patrice Motsepe’s journey to the CAF Presidency Dr Patrice Motsepe’s CAF presidenti­al campaign: How he became victorious against all odds.

Throughout his CAF presidenti­al journey, Motsepe received support from all corners of South Africa, other African countries and from the presidents of some European football managers. Motsepe’s campaign gained momentum in the Early days of 2021, and he enjoyed staunch backing from SA Football Associatio­n president Danny Jordaan‚ Council of Southern Africa Football Associatio­ns (Cosafa), president Phillip Chiyangwa‚ Nigeria Football Federation president Amaju Pinnick‚ SA’s regional neighbours Zambia‚ Zimbabwe‚ Botswana and Namibia‚ and West Africa’s Sierra Leone‚ among many others.

Amaju Pinnick, president of the Nigerian Football Associatio­n, Isha Johansen, his counterpar­t from Sierra Leone, and Maclean Letshwiti, football giant in Botswana, expressed their support for the South African candidate. This announceme­nt was very crucial for Motsepe’s campaign as victory was much closer for him. In a video which was circulatin­g on Twitter and YouTube, Ish Johansenfr claimed that “We are all in favour of a change. Four years ago, we were talking about a wind of change. We support Patrice Motsepe because we have not seen this real change that African football needs”, insisted Ish Johansenfr. From then, things started to look more clearly for the Soweto-born Billionair­e. In just weeks before the CAF elections, Motsepe appeared all but assured of becoming Confederat­ions of African Football (CAF) president after his rivals Jacques Anouma, Augstin Senghor and Ahmed Yahya all agreed to withdraw and support Motsepe’s presidenti­al bid. It was during at an event held on the 6th of March 2021, at the Palais des Congrès in Nouakchott in Mauritania, where their withdrawal­s from the election were confirmed. Reports said Senegal’s Senghor and Mauritania’s Yahya had agreed to step aside from race, with the pair claiming to have accepted vice-president positions.

The final obstacle to Motsepe was a potential

comeback for recent CAF president Ahmad, who had needed to overturn his ban to contest the elections entirely. Just three days before the elections, The Court of Arbitratio­n for Sport (CAS) announced that former African football boss Ahmad Ahmad’s five-year ban imposed by FIFA has been reduced to two years, just days before the CAF presidenti­al elections, the announceme­nt ended his hopes to retain his position as the CAF president, this led to Motsepe elected unopposed.

This was a huge victor for South Africa and Africa at large. The journey to the presidency was not a smooth one for Motsepe, but in the end, victory became inevitable. Motsepe was elected on the 12th of March 2021, unopposed. This was a victory to all South African citizens, Motsepe’s successful campaign brought hope of developmen­t for African football and Southern African, to be particular.

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 ??  ?? Michael Gillbee,
Journalist at O’SECULO DE Johannesbu­rg
Michael Gillbee, Journalist at O’SECULO DE Johannesbu­rg
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