While Forbes has ranked only five South Africans dollar billionaires in its 2019 Rich List, when counting in local currency, that list becomes significantly longer.
The past 12 months have seen a big drop in private wealth held in South Africa, with a combination of a poor economy and capital flight leading to a decline of around 10% to $649 billion.
The 2019 South African Wealth Report by New World Wealth revealed that the overall number of dollar millionaires across the country has dropped dramatically over the past year, from 43,600, to 39,200, while the country has lost 130 residents with $10 million or more over the same period.
South Africa is home to five dollar billionaires, though NWW noted that an additional nine South African born billionaires have left the country over the years – so, in total 14 South African born individuals could be classified as billionaires.
There are also 94 centi-millionaires ($100 million+) in South Africa, the group said – these are individuals who are comfortably classified as rand billionaires (R1.4 billion+).
South Africa’s 5 richest people
According to Forbes’ annual ranking of dollar billionaires, diamond magnate Nicky Oppenheimer is the richest man in the country with a net worth of $7.3 billion.
He is joined by familiar names – such as luxury goods boss Johann Rupert ($5.5 billion), mining and minerals tycoon Patrice Motsepe ($2.4 billion), media mogul Koos Bekker ($2.3 billion), and Capitec founder Michiel le Roux ($1.2 billion).
These are the five billionaires likely highlighted in the NWW report.
Forbes’ rankings are based on publicly-available information, counting the assets and investments of each individual listed – however, as a dollar-billionaire list, the cut-off for consideration is at R14 billion in local currency.
Several other sources help provide more in-depth insight into the country’s super wealthy individuals.
The 2019 UK Sunday Times Rich List pointed to several local billionaires who call the United Kingdom home, and who aren’t tracked by Forbes – including South African/Swazi businessman Nathan Kirsh, Manfred Gorvy, Douw Steyn among others.
Steyn, for example, is listed as having a net worth of R16.7 billion, which should put him on the Forbes Billionaire list; however, his fortune is not held in publicly-listed companies, making him ineligible.
Other sources for individuals with rand billionaire status includes information tucked away in shareholder reports on JSE-listed companies.
A recent example would be Dis-Chem’s co-founders, Ivan and Lynette Saltzman, who together control a 52.7% stake in the R22 billion company, making them worth a combined R12 billion.
Another under-the-radar billionaire is Cartrack CEO Zak Calisto, who indirectly holds 68% of the R5.8 billion company’s shares, putting his stake at R3.87 billion.
Entrepreneur Magazine has published its latest ranking of South Africa’s richest people. The list is based on the latest-available information from the last three years (2017-2019), and includes the names of some people who have taken a financial knock over that period, such as former Steinhoff CEO Markus Jooste (said to be worth R5.6 billion) and Christo Wiese, who has suffered financially during Steinhoff saga.
Wiese lost his dollar billionaire status in 2018 in the wake of the scandal, but according to CNBC Africa, the retail investor has managed to reclaim his spot among the world’s super-rich, with a net worth around $1.1 billion (R15.6 billion).
The table below outlines South Africa’s billionaires on record.
|Name||Net Worth||Data Source|
|Nicky Oppenheimer||R103.2 billion||Forbes|
|Johann Rupert||R77.8 billion||Forbes|
|Ivan Glasenberg||R67.9 billion||Forbes|
|Koos Bekker||R32.5 billion||Forbes|
|Patrice Motsepe||R33.9 billion||Forbes|
|Allan Gray||R24.8 billion*||Entrepreneur Mag|
|Michiel le Roux||R17.0 billion||Forbes|
|Douw Steyn||R16.7 billion||Sunday Times Rich List|
|Stephen Saad||R16.3 billion*||Entrepreneur Mag|
|Christo Wiese||R15.6 billion||CNBC/Forbes|
|Jannie Mouton||R13.6 billion*||Entrepreneur Mag|
|Ivan and Lynette Saltzman||R12.0 billion||BusinessTech|
|Mark Shuttleworth||R9.3 billion||Sunday Times Rich List|
|Laurie Dippenaar||R8.5 billion*||Entrepreneur Mag|
|Raymond Ackerman||R6.9 billion*||Entrepreneur Mag|
|Adrian Gore||R6.7 billion*||Entrepreneur Mag|
|Cyril Ramaphosa||R6.4 billion||Investing.com|
|GT Ferreira||R5.8 billion*||Entrepreneur Mag|
|Gus Attridge||R5.7 billion*||Entrepreneur Mag|
|Markus Jooste||R5.6 billion*||Entrepreneur Mag|
|Wendy Appelbaum||R4.7 billion*||Entrepreneur Mag|
|Desmond Sacco||R4.7 billion*||Entrepreneur Mag|
|Giovanni Ravazzotti||R4.7 billion*||Entrepreneur Mag|
|Zak Calisto||R3.9 billion||BusinessTech|