Africa’s first black billionaire, Patrice Motsepe, has stepped forward to resolve the pay dispute of South Africa’s Women’s World Cup team through his foundation, the Motsepe Foundation, in a significant development for gender equality in sports.
Motsepe, who made history in 2008 as the first black African billionaire to appear on the Forbes list, will be donating $320,000 to the team, putting an end to the contentious issue that had sparked discussions on gender pay gaps in the country.
The South African billionaire, widely recognized for his entrepreneurial success and philanthropic endeavors, leads companies such as African Rainbow Minerals, African Rainbow Capital, and Ubuntu-Botho Investments. He also serves as the president of the Confederation of African Football, the continent’s football governing body.
The dispute arose over the FIFA-allocated bonus structure, which the players claimed was not adequately reflected in their contracts.
FIFA promised each of the 23 squad members a $30,000 appearance fee, but the funds were not included in their agreements with the football association. This discrepancy triggered a heated conversation on gender equality in sports within the country.
At a news conference in Johannesburg, Precious Moloi-Motsepe, the wife of Patrice Motsepe and co-founder of the Motsepe Foundation, announced the generous donation. She emphasized the importance of translating gender equality rhetoric into tangible action, stating: “This moment is about us paying lip service when it comes to gender equality. It takes every single one of us to ensure gender equality becomes a reality.”
With his fortune currently estimated at $2.5 billion, Motsepe is the richest Black Southern African billionaire, surpassing Zimbabwe’s wealthiest individual, Strive Masiyiwa, whose net worth stands at $1.8 billion.
The majority of Motsepe’s wealth is derived from his 39.7-percent stake in ARM, a prominent South African mining and minerals company specializing in iron, coal, copper, gold, platinum, and other precious metals.
This intervention by Motsepe and the Motsepe Foundation brings an amicable resolution to the pay dispute, underscoring the importance of addressing gender pay gaps and promoting equality in sports.
The donation of $320,000 will be shared among the 23 players representing South Africa at the upcoming Women’s World Cup, signifying a landmark moment in the fight for fair treatment and recognition of female athletes.