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South Africa’s richest people

South Africa’s richest people

While a far stretch from Bill Gates‘ R500 billion fortune, a number of South Africans sit comfortably among the world’s rich list.

Technology, energy, communications and software have propelled the world’s richest people to the top of Forbe’s billionaire’s list – but closer to home, mining, luxury goods and retail successes are the sectors to be in for South Africa’s top earners.

BusinessTech takes a look at the richest people in South Africa – and how many billions of rands they pack away for that rainy day.

Ivan Glasenberg

Ivan Glasenberg – R59.70 billion 

South African-born Ivan Glasenberg is CEO of Glencore International – one of the largest commodity trading companies in the world.

He joined the company in 1984, becoming CEO in 2002 after becoming head of the company’s coal department in 1991. He’s reportedly the largest individual shareholder of Glencore, owning more than 15% of the company stock.

His net worth is estimated to be sitting at $7.3 billion (R59.70 billion), putting him in 125th position on the Forbes billionaire’s list, and making him the richest man in South Africa.

Nicky Oppenheimer

Nicky Oppenheimer – R55.61 billion

South African diamond magnate, Nicky Oppenheimer is the 139th richest person in the world, and the second richest person in South Africa.

As chairman of the world’s largest diamond producer, De Beers, the Oppenheimer family has held control of the company since Ernest Oppenheimer (Nicky’s Grandfather) took the reins in 1927.

In 2011, Oppenheimer made the decision to sell the family’s 40% stake in De Beers to Anglo American for $5.1 billion. Ernest Oppenheimer started a long legacy in mining, having also founded Anglo American in 1917.

Oppenheimer owns the Tswalu Kalahari Reserve, the largest private game reserve in South Africa, and has an estimated net value of $6.8 billion (R55.61 billion).

Johann Rupert

Johann Rupert – R41.71 billion

Johann Rupert made his billions through the sale of luxury goods, serving as chairman and CEO of Richemont, a Swiss holding company that controls brands such as Vacheron Constantin, Cartier, Alfred Dunhill, Montblanc and Chloé.

Rupert is also the chairman of Remgro, which has South African technology interests in the CIV group of companies, and an investment in SEACOM.

Rupert’s extensive holding in luxury goods places his net worth at $5.1 billion (R41.71 billion), making him the third richest man in South Africa, and 199th in the world.

Christo Wiese

Christo Wiese – R25.35 billion

Christoffel Wiese is the chairman, executive director and the largest single shareholder of the African continent’s biggest retailer, low-price supermarket chain, Shoprite.

Forbes lists his net worth at $3.1 billion (R25.35 billion) making him the 367th richest person in the world, and 4th in South Africa.

Wiese built up Shoprite from a small, eight-store chain in Cape Town, to a multi-billion dollar business, through acquisitions and successful expansion strategies over 30 years.

He also owns a 44% stake in Pepkor, the holding company for PEP discount stores, Ackermans and other retail brands.

Patrice Motsepe

Patrice Motsepe – R22.08 billion

Mining magnate Patrice Motsepe is South Africa’s first and only black billionaire (in dollar terms). With a net worth of $2.7 billion (R22.08 billion), he’s the 5th richest South African, and the 447th richest person in the world.

Motsepe founded the first black-owned mining company, African Rainbow Minerals (ARM), which has interests in gold, ferrous metals, base metals, and platinum. Motsepe chairs the company.

Motsepe started off as the first black partner in law firm, Bowman Gilfillan, where he specialized in mining and business law.

Motsepe’s fortunes were built on the back of black economic empowerment (BEE) laws, according to Forbes, which allowed him to set up a firm to buy and operate mines, along with using his political connections to get ahead in the industry.

However, it was a keen business mind and strategic management skills that allowed Motsepe to make the most of the opportunities that South Africa’s BEE revolution presented.

The Rich List – Intellidex

Along with featuring the top five billionaires listed above, Intellidex’s Rich List also features the some of the richest South Africans who, while earning multiple billions of rands, don’t quite make it into Forbes’ billionaire index.

This second half of the top 10 list below features names such as Pick n Pay chairman, Raymond Ackerman; Naspers CEO, Koos Bekker; and mining holding company, Assore’s head, Desmond Sacco – billionaire’s in their own right.

South Africa’s richest people

# Name Company Net Worth
1 Ivan Glasenberg Glencore R59.70 billion
2 Nicky Oppenheimer De Beers R55.61 billion
3 Johann Rupert Compagnie Financiere Richemont R41.71 billion
4 Christo Wiese Shoprite R25.35 billion
5 Patrice Motsepe Africa Rainbow Minerals R22.08 billion
6 Desmond Sacco Assore R6.99 billion
7 Sir Donald Gordon Former Liberty International R5.71 billion
8 Stephen Saad Aspen R5.09 billion
9 Koos Bekker Naspers R4.93 billion
10 Raymond Ackerman Pick n Pay R4.38 billion

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Quinton is a business and technology journalist who dabbles in media and graphic design. He holds a degree in Journalism from the University of Johannesburg....
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  • Christo Wiese… wasn’t he fined by sars a couple of million for skipping taxes… or was it a billion..?

    • About 2 billiion, yes.

    • Hi iTile, indeed Wiese owes SARS an estimated R2bn in unpaid taxes. He is battling this out in court, so expect millions in legal fees.

      • Well.. 2 Billion in unpaid tax.. If you think about it this way. If he paid he’s taxes he would not have been on that list. So yes that 2 Billion makes a hell of a difference. So Gareth what would you do if you had 2 Billion extra cash? you’d make a couple of billion more. Thats how it works.. you need money to make money. Think of how many millionnaires there would be in SA if we didn’t pay tax.. Quite a Lot i would say.

        • Joe McDonald

          iTile, how do you calculate? R25 billion less R2 billion still puts him in the same spot. So no, it does not make a hell of a difference.

          I’m sure Gareth and any other ethical person will pay their taxes as required. Also millionaires get where they are through hard work and intelligence, if you don’t have that mentality then it doesn’t matter how much/little you get taxed you’ll never get that far in life. Seems more like an excuse to me than a valid reason.

      • McTSA

        It is a real shame that stinking rich work so hard to dodge and evade tax. Reminds me of David King?

    • Not that a hefty tax like that will put him in the slums or anything.

    • Guest

      iTile, I was merely pointing out that he does indeed owe a fairly large sum of money to the tax man, but to be honest, it doesn’t change his standing on the list.

  • Faultyboy

    If these people got together and decided to better the country, they could achieve anything with that amount of money and power.. I would buy Telkom, Eskom, Vodacom, MTN, CellC and completely melt them into one company and change the business model to non profit. What ever profit made after maintenance, expansion and running expenses needs to be given back to the clients in the form of cheaper rates and better service. Lets not mention the extreme salary cuts that the management staff would get yet 😉 Yes it would be a monopoly but if the aim was service to others instead of service to self it would be a welcomed monopoly.

    • Andre

      It sounds more like privately run communism to me. Besides imagine prospering that business model to the board. All those companies would make record falls in the stock market within a couple of hours.

    • FJZ&NM


  • CarelezzPhlyBoyOhsoMazing

    Ivan Glasenberg. Actually, I didn’t know 90% of the people on the list

    • McTSA

      I got 8 out of 10 in my list of known business persons. Of those on the list, my favourite is Mr Johan Rupert. I am sure the others are also involved in development in the country, but Mr Rupert is well known for his involvement in social and sports development. Ernie Els is one of the many that owe a huge debt to this man. I would love to meet him some day.

  • What about Elon Musk? Should be around R16 billion in 6th position.

    • Hi Voter, Forbes puts Musk at 634th on the rich-list with a fortune of $2bn.

    • Indeed, he’s South African-born, but his operations (and accrual of his wealth) has nothing to do with South Africa.

      All of the people on the list operate within South Africa and contribute to the South African economy – Musk operates within the United States only. That’s presumably why Forbes and Intellidex don’t count him amongst “South African” billionaires.

    • Andre

      Don’t confuse US$ with R

      • Andre

        My bad…

  • T

    Where is Cyril Ramaphosa on this list? He bought Mcds SA for over a billion rand and has huge shares in MTN, Standard Bank, Mondi etc…

    • He’s indeed one of the richest people in SA – but he still misses the top 10 covered in this article; Forbes has his net worth pegged at $275 million – which is just over R2.2 billion.

    • I second? I doubt this is not updated regularly. Where is Sandile Zungu, That man is top!

    • Danilo hendricks

      He made loans to buy those things, besides mc donald sa is crap!

    • King_Anon

      Do the calculations. He doesn’t make it.

    • Linda

      Cyril is a Millionaire, not Billionaire that is y h is not on this list, Google his net worth.

  • Fruitbat

    What about the guy on the show – Clifton shores?

  • solomon alvaro mbula

    PURITY 96.7%


  • But there are people that are rich within that scale, but they are not mentioned here. How often are updates done on this website? Eugene Silinda

    • Andre

      A lot of people have undisclosed net worths. For example Ivan Glassenberg only recently became the richest man from way bellow the top 10 list when his company went from privately owned to hit the stock market. He’s also signed a 5 year agreement to not sell his shares. So just because he’s got it doesn’t mean he can spend it. He’s also only allowed to sell in small portions not to make the share price plummet

  • BluePop

    News from me “Down Under”: MSCSA, part of Macsteel Holdings, owned by Eric Samson and family, had a turnover of about $9bn in 2011, according to Financial Mail. Little is known publicly about Eric Samson, who is thought to be among South Africa’s wealthiest people. As head of a private company, Samson is not obliged to disclose anything publicly. Now he’s selling ( Would love to know the buying price and how much commission Investec will earn 😉

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  • fatai

    hi, am fatai by name this first time of comment this website and it really fun! you can make friend with me on text your mail to text your mail to me to discuss better legal business which can profitable in the short-run

  • nkosi

    Plz dis rich pple cant de share same percentage to de poor?

    • Andre

      They might if they could understand what you’re saying. Besides they do, go look up the charities they and their companies run

  • Stanley Mphela

    Good people money wise.In the near future we need top ten with first double digits. Black and White women where are you?

  • Alex

    Funny that they should write about Motsepe’s BEE advantage as if all the others were not aided by racial laws when they or their grandparents started their companies in the 1900, well done Motsepe real business genius, Many got the opportunities and squandered it you a true germ in SA..

  • john

    Where is this ivan coming from,,i always thought nicky is no1

  • Tee

    I would love to join the discussion good people but all i ask for is a polo vivo that would make me happy my email address 🙂

  • desmond

    can any of this billionaires donate me some money to make myself a better future email me if any can help me

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  • zakes

    please don’t count women in this matter cause we have to create a list for them for the most talketive women is SA cause that is their speciality


    ramaphosa he jst stealing money from government [he don’t have nothing , jst like poor Jacob zuma] looooool shem

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