[Update] This article has been updated to include South African-born surgeon and pharmaceutical leader, Patrick Soon-Shiong, who is worth US$8.8 billion, according to Bloomberg, making him the second wealthiest billionaire with SA roots.
Elon Musk is the richest South African in the world – and while the former PayPal executive no longer has any real business ties to the country, his roots still lie squarely on local soil.
This is based on figures by Forbes and Bloomberg through a continuously updated list of global billionaires which tracks the day-to-day gains and losses of the world’s wealthy.
Both media corporations list high net-worth individuals based either on current citizenship or primary country of residence.
Thus, big-name billionaires such as Musk, who now lives and works in the United States, are not tied to South Africa in any way except by birth.
Musk hails from Pretoria, and spent most of his youth in the country before moving to Canada, aged 17.
The technophile has had a big hand in the creation of PayPal, SpaceX, Tesla Motors and SolarCity – and even conceptualized a futuristic mode of transportation called the Hyperloop, giving him the title of the “real life Tony Stark”.
Such is Musk’s success, that he has been voted as the 52nd most powerful person on the planet, according to Forbes.
Another South African billionaire – who is far closer to home than Musk – is Swaziland business magnate, Nathan Kirsh, who, thanks to his Swazi citizenship, is also not listed as a South African.
However, Kirsh was born in South Africa in 1932 and grew up in Potchefstroom, attending Wits University before making his millions in the property market.
Kirsh is still actively involved in South Africa, having been one of the primary funders of Mamphele Ramphele’s Agang SA political party in the latest national elections.
Richest South Africans
Aside from Musk and Kirsh, the richest South Africans list below features the names we’ve become accustomed to as the country’s most wealthy.
This includes the ‘official’ South African number one billionaire, Johann Rupert; the Oppenheimer family; and retail magnate, Christo Wiese.
The list comprises not only the richest South Africans who reside and conduct business in the country, but also those who were born in the country and have since gained citizenship elsewhere.
This includes Australia-based Ivan Glasenberg, who heads up mining giant Glencore Xtrata, as well as UK-based property developer and founder and director of Budget Insurance, Douw Steyn, whose fortune is pegged at around R8 billion.
The top five wealthiest South Africans have their wealth sourced from Bloomberg, while the remainder have their wealth documented on Forbes, excluding Steyn, whose official net worth is unlisted.
It must be noted that Bloomberg’s billionaire data takes into account economic and market related factors for each billionaire’s portfolio, including investment risk profiles. Forbes’ data does not make these adjustments.
The wealth of individuals under $1 billion is based on Forbes’ African rich list (November 2013).
Richest people from South Africa
|#||Person||Net Worth (US$)||Net Worth (ZAR)|
|1||Elon Musk||$11.0 billion||R122.4 billion|
|2||Patric Soon-Shiong||$8.8 billion||R97.9 billion|
|3||Nathan Kirsh||$8.3 billion||R92.4 billion|
|4||Johann Rupert||$7.6 billion||R84.6 billion|
|5||Nicky Oppenheimer||$7.3 billion||R81.2 billion|
|6||Ivan Glasenberg||$5.8 billion||R64.5 billion|
|7||Christo Wiese||$4.0 billion||R44.5 billion|
|8||Clive Calder||$2.5 billion||R27.8 billion|
|9||Patrice Motsepe||$2.3 billion||R25.6 billion|
|10||Koos Bekker||$2.1 billion||R23.4 billion|
|11||Stephen Saad||$2.0 billion||R22.3 billion|
|12||Allan Gray||$1.5 billion||R16.7 billion|
|13||Douw Steyn||$720 million||R8.0 billion|
|14||Cyril Ramaphosa||$700 million||R7.8 billion|
|15||Lauritz Dippenaar||$650 million||R7.2 billion|
|16||Gus Attridge||$525 million||R5.8 billion|
|17||Mark Shuttleworth||$500 million||R5.6 billion|
|18||Raymond Ackerman||$500 million||R5.6 billion|
|19||Gerrit Thomas Ferreira||$475 million||R5.3 billion|
|20||Jannie Mouton||$475 million||R5.3 billion|
|21||Adrian Gore||$460 million||R5.1 billion|
Conversions done at $1 – R11.13