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South Africans can make this a great country

- Wits University

The responsibility to make South Africa a great country lies with its people, not the politicians says business tycoon and philanthropist Patrice Motsepe.

"The future of this country, in as much as the politicians have a profound impact on society, the future is in our hands.

"We have the capacity to make this the very best country in the world,” Motsepe said.

Motsepe was delivering his acceptance speech after Wits University this afternoon conferred on him an Honorary Doctorate in Commerce for his achievements in business and contributions to society.

"South Africa has had serious challenges in the last few years but South Africans always overcome these hurdles. We should never give up hope," Motsepe said.

He went on to urge the graduates to remember their social responsibility.

“All of us must focus on the poor, the marginalised and the unemployed because all our futures are inextricably intertwined with the future of the poor, the marginalised and the unemployed.

Since 2014, the Motsepe Foundation has donated over R18 million to assist Wits students from poor background. Approximately 100 Wits students are beneficiaries of the fund this year. This generosity also extends to other universities across South Africa.

A Wits alumnus (LLB, 1988), Motsepe is an entrepreneur who through judicious business acumen has created enterprises that positively impact countless South Africans.

In 1994, he established Future Mining, a contract mining company that cleaned gold dust from inside mine shafts. In 1997, Motsepe, Nicky Oppenheimer and Mark Shuttleworth formed Green and Partners, a venture capital firm through which Motsepe established African Rainbow Minerals. At this time Black Economic Empowerment and entrepreneurism emerged in the new South Africa.

He pioneered a system where miners’ remuneration combined wages with a profit-sharing bonus. He subsequently acquired several low-yield mine shafts and turned each into profitable enterprises. Since then he has not only built a remarkable business empire drawing many business accolades, but has also generously contributed to the lives of the poor, youth and communities.

Since 2014, the Motsepe Foundation has donated over R18 million to assist students from poor backgrounds at the University of the Witwatersrand. Approximately 100 Wits students are beneficiaries of the fund this year. This generosity also extends to other universities across South Africa.

Across the border, the Foundation donated $1 million to the Ebola Fund in the Republic of Guinea to aid efforts to curb the deadly Ebola virus that affected a number of West African countries including Liberia and Sierra Leone.

“His philanthropy has made a difference in the lives of a diversity of local communities and makes a contribution to changing lives. As a leading business person he has created wealth not only for himself which he shares with communities in South Africa and Africa,” reads the citation presented before he was capped by Wits Chancellor, Justice Dikgang Moseneke.

“Motsepe represents some of the best achievers that post-apartheid South Africa has produced in the business and economic spheres of human endeavour. His success and the respect he commands in South Africa and globally is testimony to the innovation, creativity and the ability needed to transcend the limitations of what could be debilitating business and economic environments in Africa.”

Thanking the University, Motsepe said he was humbled by the honour adding that there are many deserving recipients worthy of the recognition bestowed upon him by the University.

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