SAMUEL NTSOKOANE MATEKANE
BACKGROUND TO FAMILY AND SOCIAL LIFe
MMr. Samuel Ntsokoane Matekane was born on the 15th March 1958 in the Mants’onyane Village in the District of Thaba-Tseka Lesotho. He is the 7th child out of a family of 14 children of his deceased parents Mr. Hoohlo and Mrs. Mantuba Matekane. He is married with six children and seven grandchildren.
He is a devout Catholic who grew up in church and attended Catholic schools. His education started at a Catholic school in Mants’onyane named Bocheletsane Primary. He later progressed to Mabathoana High School in Maseru to pursue a Junior Certificate.
Soon after completing the Junior Certificate, Matekane started his business life. At that time, he lived with a close family friend who was also a businessman in Motimposo, Mr Timothy Nhlapho, who became his business mentor.
Mr. Matekane has a love for outdoor motor sports and has attended a number of races held in different countries. For many years he has been sponsoring the Roof of African race, borne from this love of off-road racing. He also has a hobby of collecting vintage and classic cars and some of the rare automobiles.
He enjoys farming and has founded a business in crop and livestock farming. Sam Matekane Foundation, which was established in November 2020, is aimed at helping to alleviate poverty through community projects in farming as well as other projects that address unemployment, particularly among the youth of Lesotho.
He enjoys time off from his busy schedule with his friends and family. He is known by his friends as a calm, humble, vision-oriented person and with a lot of humour.
From 1980, through the support of his mentor, Mr Nhlapho, Mr. Matekane started commercial livestock farming of donkeys. He bought the donkeys from our neighbouring country, South Africa and traded them for cash or sheep. In 1986, he diversified his business interests into brick manufacturing. As the business grew, he bought his first truck for the transportation of bricks to customers. His brick manufacturing business expanded into mining and selling sand. Over the years the business grew and was formally registered as Matekane Transport and Plant Hire (Pty) Ltd. The growth of Matekane Transport and Plant Hire saw its entry into bigger jobs in the construction of roads, dams and reservoirs. Later in 1992, he registered an umbrella company named Matekane Group of Companies (MGC) to accommodate further expansions and diversifications into other business ventures. Since then, MGC became a home to many business ventures initiated by Mr. Matekane. Mining is one of the biggest ventures, which led him to register Matekane Mining Investment Company in 2004. The Company is sub-contracted to carry out transport and haulage at Let’seng Diamond Mine based in Mokhotlong, Lesotho. Mr Matekane’s businesses have footprints in several counties including South Africa, Botswana, Mozambique, and India.
In 2009, he ventured into a ground–breaking aviation business as the first Lesotho citizen to own an aircraft which operated as a commercial helicopter. Later, Matekane Aviation expanded with the addition of a private jet. Today, Matekane Aviation owns a helicopter, a private jet and a Bombardier CRJ200’s. In March 2016, the Company registered an Airline trading as Maluti Sky, flying between Maseru and several of South Africa airports. Maluti Sky experienced operational challenges that led to its closure in 2017. Today, Matekane Aviation continues to operate a charter.
Matekane Properties is another arm of the MGC. Housed at the six (6) storey MGC Park in Maseru, Matekane Properties has developed several properties in Maseru city and in several towns of South Africa. The most popular of the properties in Maseru are Mpilo Boutique Hotel (closed in January 2021) and Mpilo Estate.
To cater for his businesses in Farming, Mr. Matekane registered another arm named MGC Express in 2006, which owns commercial farms in South Africa.
MGC has grown tremendously over the past thirty years under Mr. Matekane’s visionary leadership and dedication. The company is a home to several subsidiaries that are growing steadily, namely MGC Mining, Matekane Transport, MGC Aviation, MGC Properties, MGC Express and Verve Dynamics, which deals with producing and processing medicinal cannabis. The recent innovation is a new company named Organica, which provide quality Pharmaceutical, Nutraceutical and Cosmeceutical products made through the union of cutting-edge scientific methods and ancient natural healing practices. The total workforce under MGC is over 1300 people as of November 2021. Unfortunately, due to the detrimental effects of COVID-19, the company has had to downsize its workforce. The division of civil works and the hotel have since been closed due to the pandemic.
Mr. Matekane is well recognised for his achievements in business in Lesotho and outside of the country. In August 2021, he was awarded a prestigious title as Forbes Best of Africa Entrepreneur Award by the Foreign Investment Network (FIN) in partnership with Forbes. His other accolades include the following: Business Excellence and Philanthropy Award from Canada-Africa Chamber of Commerce; Winner of PMR Awards Africa since 2010 to date in their performance in the Mining, Aviation and Construction Sectors and for their role in Social Responsibility.
The BUSINESS LIFE
CORPORATE SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY AND INVESTMENT AND PHILANTHROPY
Sam Matekane is known in his country for the role he plays in the philanthropy sphere. He has made a significant difference in the lives of the people in the following sectors: Community Development, Education, Sports and Development and Health (HIV/AIDS and COVID-19). Below are the highlights of some initiatives that MGC has been involved in under its social responsibility policy.
Under the Local Community Development, he has built an integrated Catholic Mission of St. Lawrence in his hometown, Mants’onyane. He invested in the following world class buildings: Bocheletsane Primary School and Bocheletsane Secondary School; The Catholic Church, the Priest’s Residence; a Nunnery (to accommodate nuns); staff houses with five family units, and a world class stadium with the capacity of 20,000 people as well as a theatre hall that accommodates 1000 people.
Through his company, MGC, he has played a significant role in offering scholarships to various schools in the country, covering vulnerable children from elementary schools to universities. The Company has adopted schools from various districts, sponsoring forty (40) students each year from Primary to High School level since 2011.
In Sports and Development, MGC has played a remarkable role in soccer development and promotion. It joined hands with other local sponsors to support the Lesotho Football Association (LEFA) and sponsor the MGC Super 8 and Likhopo Football Club. For many years, MGC sponsored the popular bike race – Roof of Africa Race – together with Euro-Copter Services. Recently MGC launched a sports extravaganza, which is a mix of competitive sporting activities including running marathon, cycling, and the Premier League Soccer Spectacular. The sports extravaganza is meant to be an annual event hosted in the new stadium.
In the Area of HIV/AIDS, MGC has, in partnership with Christian Health Association of Lesotho (CHAL) and Nthane Brothers, donated five vehicles (Sprinters) and two Mobile VCCT Vehicles to different churches to help in the pandemic awareness campaigns. During the COVID-19 Pandemic, MGC has been involved in helping the Government in the fight against the virus. The Company donated two testing machines for COVID-19 to the Ministry of Health ICU beds, which have been distributed to several hospitals across the country as well as the oxygen plant based in Paray Hospital in Thaba-Tseka. Furthermore, the Company distributed food parcels to stranded Basotho in the diaspora in South Africa who were locked down in South Africa and had no access to food. Through SMF, additional hospital wings have been built at Paray Hospital in Thaba-Tseka, which will be used as a special facility for COVID-19 patients.
Sam Matekane Foundation (SMF) was recently registered to house all of Mr. Matekane’s philanthropic activities. The initial activities of SMF are the farming projects for the communities of his hometown, Mantsonyane. He has partnered with the landowners for a huge agricultural project producing the following crops: Maize, Potatoes, Butternut, Beans and Cabbage. Furthermore, he has supported the establishment of an orchard which will later produce several fruits including apples, pears, plums, peaches, grapes, kiwi, cherries, and apricots. He has donated all inputs and technical expertise for these projects to be successful, including tractors, water supply, irrigation system, seeds, fertilizers as well as farming tools.
The SMF work in Mants’onyane also covers youth empowerment. Through the Foundation, Mants’onyane youth have been supported with poultry farming and piggery farming. Currently poultry houses are being constructed to carry 30,000 broilers and 12,000 layers. Although the piggery farm is still in the planning phase, it is aimed at producing parent stock and pork. Both farms will also have relevant abattoirs and retail platforms.