Richest Black S. African Motsepe Joins Buffett Charity Vow

Patrice Motsepe, chairman of African Rainbow Minerals Ltd. and the richest black South African, pledged some of his wealth to charity, joining Warren Buffett’s initiative to boost philanthropy.

The Motsepe family “will contribute at least half of the funds generated by our family assets to the Motsepe Foundation,” to be used during his lifetime and beyond that of his wife to improve lifestyles and living conditions of poor and marginalized South Africans, Precious Moloi Motsepe, Patrice’s wife, told reporters today in Johannesburg. The foundation was formed in 1999.

Buffett, the chairman of Berkshire Hathaway Inc., formed the Giving Pledge with Bill and Melinda Gates in 2010 to boost humanitarianism among the world’s richest people. Motsepe is the richest black South African, last year estimated to be worth 20.1 billion rand ($2.2 billion) excluding property and unlisted assets, according to the Johannesburg-based Sunday Times newspaper. Cyril Ramaphosa, who was chosen as deputy leader of the country’s ruling party in December, is Motsepe’s brother-in-law and the next most wealthy.

“Under no circumstance will there be a share overhang,” Motsepe said today. “I haven’t sold shares since I started African Rainbow Minerals. The most effective way I can help the poor and make a contribution to philanthropy is to make sure that our shareholders and investors have confidence in us.”

Motsepe’s Interests

Motsepe formed ARMgold, African Rainbow’s predecessor, three years after apartheid ended in 1994 by purchasing mines near closure from AngloGold Ashanti Ltd., the world’s third-biggest producer of the metal. ARMgold in 2003 merged with Harmony Gold Mining Co. African Rainbow Minerals has interests in gold, ferrous metals, base metals and platinum. It started producing copper in Zambia, Africa’s biggest producer of the metal, through a joint venture with Brazil’s Vale SA last year.

“My primary obligation will be South Africa,” Motsepe said. “But in the places that African Rainbow Minerals is involved in Africa, we will be helping.” Pledges may start reaching the foundation this year, he said.

Motsepe is also chairman of Harmony Gold Mining Co., Africa’s third-largest bullion producer, and controls Mamelodi Sundowns a team in South Africa’s 16-team Premier Soccer League.

Forbes magazine estimates Motsepe’s wealth at $2.65 billion as of November, making him the eighth-richest man in Africa.

“When I appeared on the cover of Forbes I didn’t know I had so many relatives, which is fine, and Forbes said we had a value which I didn’t know myself.”

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