South Africa’s richest people mostly saw an increase in their wealth over the past year – with the country’s wealthiest man adding almost R23 million to his fortune daily.
The world’s billionaires had a fantastic 2017, according to the latest Forbes Billionaire Index for 2018, increasing their combined wealth by 18% to $9.1 trillion in the 12 months to February this year.
By far the most notable change was in the title of the world’s richest man, who is now Amazon.com founder and CEO, Jeff Bezos, who saw his fortunes balloon by over $39 billion (R460 billion) over that period.
Bezos’ growth in fortune means he earned close to R1.3 billion a day if spread over the entire year.
South African billionaires
For South Africa’s richest, growth was more muted by comparison – and for others, non-existent, with three South African billionaires dropping off wealth list entirely between 2017 and 2018.
One of the biggest losers for the year is retail magnate Christo Wiese, who had in the past spent some time holding the title as South Africa’s richest man, climbing on the highs of his investments in Steinhoff International and Shoprite Holdings.
However, it was Wiese’s stake in Steinhoff that would ultimately cause him to fall off the latest billionaire’s ranking, with the investor’s fortunes crumbling from $5.5 billion in 2017 to as low as $750 million in 2018.
Losing over $4.75 billion (R56 billion) in 12 months translates to losing more than R153 million a day – though the bulk of Wiese’s losses were felt over a much shorter period.
Half of Wiese’s losses hit over a single day in early December 2017, after the Steinhoff accounting scandal first hit.
The rest of the losses followed as the depth of the scandal took hold in the market.
For South Africa’s standing billionaires, however, fortunes have been more positive. The table below outlines how much South Africa’s billionaires have made per day over the past year:
|Billionaire||2018 Net Worth||2017 Net Worth||Change||Added Per day|
|Nicky Oppenheimer||R90.84 billion||R82.58 billion||+R8.26 billion||R22.6 million|
|Johann Rupert||R82.58 billion||R71.96 billion||+R10.62 billion||R29.1 million|
|Koos Bekker||R30.67 billion||R24.77 billion||+R5.90 billion||R16.2 million|
|Patrice Motsepe||R28.31 billion||R21.24 billion||+R7.07 billion||R19.4 million|
|Stephen Saad||R14.16 billion||R14.16 billion||=||=|
Conversion done at USD 1 = ZAR 11.80 on 22 March 2018