Lesiba Mothata. Picture: SUPPLIED
Lesiba Mothata. Picture: SUPPLIED

We question Lesiba Mothata, chief economist at Investment Solutions.

What’s the most interesting thing about you that people don’t know?

When called for duty, I can get into blue-collar workwear and paint, dig and lay bricks with a construction team.

What do you consider the most overrated virtue?

Confidence that borders on pride is distasteful when it is observed in a person who exhibits such arrogance and does not know it.

Which phrase or word do you most overuse?


Where were you when Nelson Mandela was released from prison?

I was in my village, Chebeng in Polokwane, with my family. Even as a youngster in grade 7, it occurred to me that it was a monumental day for SA and its people. One could feel the significance of the moment in the air.

What are you reading at the moment? What’s the one book everyone should read before they die?

George Akerlof and Robert Shiller’s Animal Spirits: How Human Psychology Drives the Economy, and Why it Matters for Global Capitalism. Everyone should read Spencer Johnson’s Who Moved My Cheese.

Tell us about a hidden gem in SA that not many people know about.

44 Stanley in Auckland Park, Johannesburg, is a wonderful precinct, with a variety of restaurants and places to chill. I even found some boutiques with colourful socks, which admittedly I’d never had. I bought myself a pair there the other day.

What is the one investment you wish you had made, or made earlier?

I wish I had bought land on the periphery of major metropolitan areas of SA. One day, SA will have a regional economic development strategy that will push peripheral cities into a faster growth path. Land prices on the outskirts of Johannesburg, Pretoria, Cape Town and Durban will rise significantly in
the future.

Is there such a thing as “enough money” and, if so, how much is it?

One never has enough money. As economists would suggest — more is preferable to less.

What’s the worst airport you’ve been in?

Dulles International Airport, in Washington DC in 2012. It was my first international trip and I had high expectations. OR Tambo appeared top-notch in comparison. Larry Summers, the Harvard professor who has been thumping on about infrastructure spending in the US, has a point.

When and where were or are you happiest?

I was happiest when I travelled to a town called Hangzhou, China, in 2013. After reading about how magnificent the scenery is in the town, I decided to spend a few days there, which proved to be most memorable. I did, however, feel as if I was the only one of my kind in that part of the world.

How do you handle stress?

I have recently gone back to gym. I feel more revitalised with a sharper mind. Also, meditating on wisdom from the Bible (James, Proverbs and Ecclesiastes) has helped me gain the simple principles of living. 

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