Inyathelo in the Headlines

Rich should follow Buffet, Motsepe & Others - 01 Jan 2013 - Horizon

Warren Buffett got 11 more billionaires to agree to give away half of their a wealth to charity.

The Giving Pledge, a philanthropic initiative started by the business mogul and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, aims to get the super rich to pledge their fortunes early in their lives, so " that they can have more control of how it's spent. In the two years since it was launched, the pledge has recruited 92 billionaires, including the likes of Facebook founder Mark 1 Zuckerberg and New York Mayor Michael C Bloomberg. 

Some of the newest members of the benevolent club include Netflix CEO Reed Hastings and his wife Patty Quillin, along with Intel Chairman Emeritus Gordon Moore and his wife Betty, MarketWatch reports.

Moore, who already gave away half of his fortune when he established a foundation that focuses on science, health and environmental issues, told the Wall Street Journal that his giving habits already put him "ahead of the curve."

"It won't change much of what I'm doing," he told  the news outlet, but "it's a good idea and has shaken loose a lot money that otherwise would have been tied up for a longtime.

Motsepe is the first African to join the Giving Pledge, a campaign spearheaded by Bill Gates and Warren Buffett to encourage the wealthiest people in the world to make a commitment to give at least half of their wealth to philanthropic causes.

In Motsepe's statement, he stated: "Precious [his wife] and I will i contribute at least half of the funds generated by our family assets to the Motsepe Foundation to be used during our lifetime and beyond to f improve the lifestyles and living conditions of the poor, disabled, unemployed, women, youth, workers and marginalised South Africans, I Africans and people around the world."

"Signing the pledge comes with the non-binding agreement to donate at least half of one's fortune and doesn't specify how the funds should be distributed, but Gates, who was named the richest person in the U.S. on Wednesday, told the Journal that he sees it as an opportunity for wealthy people to give in a "smarter" way.

"This new group brings extensive business and philanthropic experience that will enrich the conversation about how to make philanthropy as impactful as possible," he said in a statement on Tuesday. "Their thoughtfulness and deep commitment to philanthropy are an inspiration to me, and I'm sure to many others as well."

Inyathelo: The South African Institute for Advancement warmly welcomes Patrice Motsepe's announcement to give half the money generated by his family's assets to assist poor South Africans. The institute, which hosts the annual Inyathelo Philanthropy Awards as part of its efforts to grow local giving, says it is significant that the mining magnate has committed his funds in such a public way, and that he has specified thatthe moneywill be spent on improving the lives of the most marginalised.

Inyathelo's Programme Director Gabrielle Ritchie says South Africa desperately needs more of this kind of strategic philanthropic investment that fundamentally addresses the deep-rooted social inequalities in our society. "Despite being Africa's richest nation, no South African made it onto last year's Forbes'Biggest Givers List'. More than half of the continent's dollar millionaires live in South Africa and yet we remain the most unequal society in the world according to the latest measure of the Gini coefficient which now includes China. More wealthy South Africans need to follow Motsepe's example and give back in strategic ways that contribute to our social development," says Ritchie.

Motsepe is the first South African, and the first on the African continent, to join The Giving Pledge. The group was launched two years ago by American billionaires Bill Gates and Warren Buffet and challenges the world's wealthiest to give 50 percent or more of their fortune to charity. Inyathelo's Philanthropy Co-ordinator Alfred Thutloa says yesterday's announcement is a major breakthrough for personal philanthropy in South Africa. "Motsepe's very public gesture will encourage others to commit their personal resources towards broader social development. It also underlines the importance of institutionalising philanthropy by setting up Foundations that structure and sustain the contributions made by South Africans. Foundations ensure that our funds can keep on giving well in to the future. We believe that individual giving could be the biggest source of donor money in South Africa and philanthropists can play an important role in eradicating poverty; giving a voice to those who remain unheard; and providing innovative solutions to our many social problems," says Thutloa.

Ritchie agrees that creating a public platform for philanthropy in South Africa forms a critical part of efforts to grow local giving. "Many philanthropists are shy about their contribution and prefer to fly under the radar. However, going public ensures that this kind of social commitment and investment is seen for what it is — deliberate and considered efforts to contribute to South Africa's long terms social and economic development. Both are desperately needed if we are to safeguard and strengthen our democracy," insists Ritchie.