South Africa’s richest people

 ·11 Sep 2012

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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