Patrice Motsepe is the richest black South African and last year, for the second year running, he topped the Sunday Times’ annual Rich List, which estimated him to be worth R20.07 billion. He was followed by retail mogul Christo Wiese, with R15.226bn.

He was number 503 in the Forbes 2008 list of the richest people in the world, third in South Africa behind Nicky Oppenheimer and Johann Rupert and the first black African.

Motsepe is the founder and executive chairman of African Rainbow Minerals (ARM), a leading South African niche diversified mining and minerals firm. He also sits on the boards of several firms, and is the non-executive owner of football club Mamelodi Sundowns.

He is known to be a funder of ANC conferences and gala dinners, and on many occasions bailed out the National African Federated Chamber of Commerce and Industry during his two terms as its president.

He ascribes his grasp of basic business principles to his father, ABC Motsepe, and his mother, Key, who ran a supermarket in Soshanguve.

He is married to Precious Moloi-Motsepe, a pediatrician and a director of African Fashion International. They have three children. His sister, Bridgette, who is also in mining, is married to Justice Minister Jeff Radebe. His other sister, Tshepo, is married to Shanduka Group chairman and ANC deputy president Cyril Ramaphosa.

For a year Motsepe was a partner in one of the largest law firms in South Africa, Bowman Gilfillan, where he specialised in mining law.

In 1994 he founded Future Mining, which grew rapidly to become a successful contract mining company. Unable to secure a loan, he remembers using his cellphone and car boot as his office. In 1997, ARM acquired a number of marginal gold shafts at Vaal Reefs from Anglo American, on favourable financial terms. ARM is also a shareholder in Harmony Gold.

He is a former president of Business Unity SA and the Black Business Council. – Wiseman Khuzwayo