HE is worth M14 million. He wants business and political leaders like him, those who have made enough money and won’t take a dime from the state coffers.
Feb. 9, 2022
5 min read
Mojapela tells it like it is
Managing Director of JP Finance, Advocate Teboho Mojapela
- The self-made millionaire wants more
- JP wants to see a different Lesotho full of life and opportunities
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He wants a Lesotho full of multi-millionaires.
A socialist revolutionary after the name of his political party, Socialist Revolution (SR) Advocate Teboho Mojapela is not new to politics and wants to see a different Lesotho full of life and opportunities.
Mojapela founded the SR and professes that he is not shy to say he is rich.
“I’m not just talking about my estate but I’m referring to the liquid cash held in various banking accounts,” he says.
Also named Kanana ea Basotho in reference to the land of milk and honey of Canaan promised to the children of Israel in the Bible, SR was formed with the intention to capitalise on the loss of trust by the electorate on the political parties that are failing to garner enough seats to govern.
“They can’t form a government unless they establish a coalition,” Mojapela says. “We are making inroads where the parties are failing in a rough political landscape.”
He is not only prospering financially but he also uplifts others. Mojapela claims to have made several millionaires including his employees.
“It makes me the rightful candidate to lead the government if I’m able to root out poverty from individuals up to a point where they become millionaires,” he says.
“Lesotho is economically underdeveloped because of its greedy leaders. They have no interest in improving people’s lives but are busy pocketing public funds.
“Only successful people are better placed to govern a poor nation like Lesotho because they are already rich. Poor politicians can only solicit votes and use them as a ladder to enrich themselves,” he notes.
Mojapela says politicians often approach businesspeople in order to finance their campaigns but once elected, they think they have made it in life.
As he narrates the story of how he helped one of his workers to accumulate wealth, he argues that it is possible that a lot of Basotho could also become rich like that woman, who was once his helper.
“People should learn to save money and invest it wisely,” he says.
“I became rich through a number of savings plans that I put in place and that’s how I have helped many people to become millionaires too.”
Mojapela says he advised this particular worker to save all of her salary while he continued to support her financially.
When her savings in a bank account had accumulated about M60, 000, he says he then advised her to buy shares in his businesses.
“As I speak, she is an independent entrepreneur boasting a number of successful businesses in Teyateyaneng,” Mojapela says.
He made his largesse operating a string of money lending businesses such as JP Finance in Lesotho and Exact Finance in South Africa.
JP Finance has over 30 branches and Exact 60.
Born in 1969 in Liraoheleng, Mokhotlong, Mojapela says from humble beginnings working in the South African mines, he lent someone R50 and charged interest on it.
“That was in 1992 when the first seed of JP Finance was sown,” he recalls.
“When people wanted money, they would be referred to me and from that time I noticed that I could make a business through money lending.”
After dropping out of the National University of Lesotho (NUL) in 1989 where he was studying for a law degree, he headed for the gold mines.
“I thought it was about time I stopped depending on my parents but on my own pocket,” the entrepreneur says.
“I did not want to depend on anybody anymore. My parents had done enough for me.”
He says he later resigned at the mines and worked for the Lesotho Highlands Water Project (LHWP), where he continued with the money lending business but on a smaller scale.
In 1994, he returned to the NUL to finish his Bachelor of Laws degree with the little money he had earned from JP Finance.
Back in school, he says the business was not performing well as he was focusing on his studies.
“The business eventually collapsed,” he says. “I withdrew from the university again to rebuild the business.”
Leader of SR, Adv Teboho Mojapela
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But in 2000 he went back to NUL to finally complete his studies and graduated in 2002 with an LLB degree.
“I didn’t have time to sit and read books but I listened attentively during the lectures and I definitely passed,” he recalls.
“I’m a hard worker and not a domkop (slow learner),” Mojapela adds.
In 2005, he opened JP Finance offices in all of Lesotho’s 10 districts and two years later, he enrolled at the University of the Free State for a Master of Laws degree (LLM).
A former football player at Thabeng High School in Morija, he gained the nickname “JP” short for Jay Phiri.
Born to parents who were staunch Basotholand Congress Party (BCP) supporters, who gave refuge to freedom fighters against the Leabua Jonathan regime, Mojapela says he has always followed politics.
He joined the All Basotho Convention (ABC) at its inception in 2006 after “realising that the then ruling elites were only interested in looting public funds”.
But Mojapela says he formed the SR after he broke away from the ABC because the leadership was self-centered and only interested in filling their stomachs and lining their pockets with public funds.
“I did not decide to be a politician but circumstances forced me,” he says.
“I could not tolerate the bad behaviour of Mosisili (Pakalitha) and Thabane (Motsoahae). I’m not in politics for money because I have more than enough. Lesotho needs to be changed for the better. This country longs for peace and stability. That is why I decided to form a party.”