These are the 6 richest people in South Africa

Hurun Research Institute has published its annual billionaire ranking for 2020, which includes six names from South Africa.

The Hurun Global Rich List 2020 ranked 2,816 billionaires from 71 countries and from 2,182 companies. Over the last year, 1,811 billionaires saw their wealth increase, of which 479 are new faces to the list.

604 billionaires saw their wealth decrease, with 130 dropping off the list (16 of which died). 369 billionaires saw their wealth stay the same.

“A boom in tech valuations and strong stockmarkets across the US, India and China propelled the billionaires to record heights,” said Hurun Report chairman and chief researcher Rupert Hoogewerf.

“The US had a record number of 626 billionaires. China, despite the Trade War, added 182 new faces to hit 799 billionaires, three times the number of new faces in the US, widening the gap with the US.”

Hoogewerf noted that China today has more billionaires than the US and India combined.

“Despite a sell-off on the first day after stock markets reopened after Chinese New Year on the back of coronavirus, China’s stock market has rallied by 14% since last year’s list.”

While the Hurun list ranks only 2,800 billionaires, Hoogewerf says that there are around 6,500 dollar billionaires in the world (up 500 on 2019’s estimates), assuming that for every one billionaire identified through public trading, at least one if not more billionaire exists through private wealth, particularly from the Gulf states.

“We have found 626 billionaires in the USA, for example, suggesting the true number should be at least double that, perhaps as many as 1,500. In China, we have found 800, but the actual number should be closer to 2,000,” he said.

Global top 10

The 10 richest people in the world have shifted somewhat over the last year – but Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos remains the richest man on earth, despite his wealth dipping 5% to $140 billion.

French business magnate Bernard Arnault has climbed above Bill Gates to be ranked the second richest man in the world, while Gates has slipped to third.

# Billionaire 2019 Net Worth (US$bn) 2020 Net Worth (US$bn) Change (%)
1 Jeff Bezos 147 140 -5%
2 Bernard Arnault 86 107 +24%
3 Bill Gates 96 106 +10%
4 Warren Buffet 88 102 +16%
5 Mark Zuckerberg 80 84 +5%
6 Amancio Ortega 56 81 +45%
7 Carlos Slim Helu 66 72 +9%
8 Sergey Brin 54 68 +26%
9 Larry Page 53 67 +26%
9 Mukesh Ambani 54 67 +24%
9 Steve Ballmer 41 67 +63%

South African billionaires

South African billionaires continued to slide down the rankings, with two ranked in 2019 falling of the list entirely. These are Laurie Dippenaar – who made his debut on the Hurun Ranking in 2019 with a net worth of $1.7 billion – and mining executive Desmond Sacco, who was listed having a net worth of $1.1 billion in 2019.

But with two off the list, the 2020 ranking also saw the debut of Capitec founder Michiel le Roux on the ranking, with a net worth recorded at $1.4 billion.

Diamond magnate Nicky Oppenheimer was again ranked  as the richest man in the country, seeing his wealth grow marginally at 1%. Luxury retail billionaire Johann Rupert saw his wealth grow 5%, and African Minerals boss Patrice Motsepe also saw his net worth grow 6%

Despite this growth, all of South Africa’s billionaires fell down the overall rankings, with Shoprite investor Christo Wiese seeing the biggest fall, slipping 1,047 places.

Oppenheimer fell out of the top 250 (losing 42 places) and Naspers chairman Koos Bekker fell out of the top 1,000 – down 247 places.

These are the richest people, according to Hurun:

# Billionaire 2019 Net Worth (US$bn) 2020 Net Worth (US$bn) Change (%)
259 Nicky Oppenheimer 7.6 7.7 +1%
386 Johann Rupert 5.5 5.8 +5%
1208 Koos Bekker 2.6 2.4 -8%
1530 Patrice Motsepe 1.8 1.9 +6%
2000 Michiel le Roux 1.4
2476 Christo Wiese 1.8 1.1 -39%

Forbes is expected to publish its annual ranking of the world’s billionaires in March.

Both Forbes and Hurun base their billionaire data off publicly available information and investment data, however wealth is measured over different time periods.

Hurun’s data is a snapshot of wealth at the end of January 2019, while Forbes’ data is a snapshot of wealth from February 2019.


Read: Here’s how much money South Africa’s richest 1% controls compared to the rest of the country

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These are the 6 richest people in South Africa