South Africa’s top 10 richest business executives

The City Press has released its inaugural Wealth Index, focusing on the pool of directors of companies listed on the five local stock exchanges.

The index was compiled from company documents, announcements and share registers published between 2006 and 2018, as well as from the disclosed remuneration of JSE-listed companies’ directors for the 2017 financial year – including bonuses and severance packages.

According to the report, the top 50 wealthiest people are worth a collective R323 billion – roughly the same as the 2017 gross domestic product of Mozambique and Namibia combined.

In 2018 just woman features on the top 50 – Sygnia chief executive Magda Wierzycka – while the vast majority on the list are white males.

City Press noted that while their fortunes were previously underpinned by mining, this has shifted due to the rise of financial services companies and the appearance in South Africa of frequently speculative property investment vehicles, real estate investment trusts.


Top spot was awarded to Ivan Glasenberg because of his 8.3% stake in Glencore – the global mining and commodities group he co-founded. It estimated that in June, Glasenberg’s shares in Glencore were worth R84 billion, however they had fallen to as low as R66 billion in July.

Glencore is a Swiss-based multinational mining and commodity trading company with South African roots, and although Glasenberg is no longer a resident of South Africa, he was born, raised and educated in the country.

According to the City Press, prior to Steinhoff’s implosion at the end of 2017, Christo Wiese would have taken number one spot as director of the company.

It noted that Wiese lost almost exactly Glasenberg’s fortune – R65 billion – when his shares in Steinhoff collapsed late last year. Despite that, he is still worth R33 billion, thanks largely to his shares in Shoprite.

Steinhoff also had the highest paid executives, according to the index, with disgraced Steinhoff chief executive Markus Jooste earning a salary and bonuses totaling just over R202 million in the 2016/17 financial year.

The second-best-paid executive was Steinhoff’s financial director Andries la Grange, who earned R105.18 million.

You can read the full report in the latest City Press.

Rank Name Company Total value of investments (R million)
1 Ivan Glasenberg Glencore 71 796.38
2 Christo Wiese Brait SE; Pallinghurst resources; Invicta Holdings; Shoprite Holdings; Tradehold Steinhoff International Holdings. 32 782.36
3 Patrice Motsepe African Rainbow Minerals and Sanlam 22 750.3
4 Laurie Diepenaar FirstRand B pref; RMB Investment Holdings and RMB Holdings. 15 781.73
5 Ivan Saltzman Dis-Chem Pharmacies 15 629.93
6 Stephen Saad Aspen Pharmacare Holdings 14 363.37
7 Koos Bekker Naspers 13 558.94
8 Johan Rupert Reinet Investments; Remgro and Richemont 13 213.73
9 John Whittaker Intu Properties Plc 12 894.86
10 Michiel Le Roux Capite Bank Holdings 11 575.33

Read: Rich South Africans are paying big money to move to Australia

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South Africa’s top 10 richest business executives