Patrice Motsepe, with an estimated net worth $1.8 billion, received law degrees from the University of Swaziland and the University of Witwatersrand. (Gallo Images)
(Lefty Shivambu/Gallo Images)

In October 2019, investor and mining magnate Patrice Motsepe spoke at a high-profile conference in Bloemfontein and gave the impression of a firm promise: a multi-billion rand fund to support black farmers in building their enterprises.

The details were apparently to come shortly after, but the initiative was an important one, Motsepe reportedly said, because society needed black farmers to be part of the food supply chain.

16 months later, the money is nowhere to be seen.

It has heard nothing at all from Motsepe in the time since, the African Farmers Association of SA (Afasa) told specialist agricultural publication Food for Mzansi this week.

"He has not made any contact with Afasa regarding the fund after that," Afasa chair Neo Masithela told journalist Duncan Masiwa.

The announcement was widely reported and welcomed at the time, as were Motsepe's multi-billion-rand pledge to help with land reform the year before, and his R1 billion commitment to fighting Covid-19 the year after.

Motsepe himself, the Motsepe Foundation, and his African Rainbow Minerals (ARM) all failed to respond to questions from Business Insider South Africa this week. Food for Mzansi said it had tried for weeks to reach the foundation and ARM for comment, and also had no success.

Motsepe, the owner of Mamelodi Sundowns, is expected to become the president of the Confederation of African Football (CAF) on Friday after a fraught pre-election process. Motsepe's candidacy was formally announced in November 2020.

In other possible distractions, Motsepe's African Rainbow Capital (ARC) Investments ran into trouble with investors in 2020, when it tried to raise money following dismal performance in its share price, which remains at levels below that it commanded in October 2019.

On Thursday, Sanlam also announced that it would dissolve African Rainbow Life, a life insurance joint venture which it started with ARC in 2019, Fin24 reported. In the year to December 2020, African Rainbow Life suffered a loss of R92 million following a loss of R87 million in 2019. 

Elsewhere in Motsepe's empire, though, things are going well. Thanks to the recent boom in mining, shares of African Rainbow Minerals are trading at nearly double the price they sold for in October 2019.

(Compiled by Phillip de Wet)

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