The richest people in South Africa at the start of 2022

 ·12 Jan 2022

Data from Forbes’ real-time ranking of billionaires shows that some of South Africa’s richest people continued to grow their wealth in 2021, led by Johann Rupert, whose luxury goods group Richemont surged on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange, particularly in the second half of the year.

Richemont was the biggest single driver for the South African gauge this year in terms of index points, Bloomberg reported. The Johannesburg shares of the luxury retailer climbed by a record 84% as the sector was buoyed by resilient pandemic sales and bullish prospects for 2022.

Former diamond magnate Nicky Oppenheimer, Rupert, and Capitec founder Michiel le Roux all added to their net wealth in 2021, while mining boss Patrice Motsepe’s net worth was unchanged, and media mogul Koos Bekker saw his wealth decline over the same period.

With an increase in wealth, local billionaires have also climbed the global rankings, though Motsepe and Bekker’s fortunes have taken them in the opposite direction.

The below table shows where South Africa’s billionaires’ fortunes sit at the start of 2021 compared to the start of 2020.

Jan-21 Jan-22 Billionaire Jan-21 net worth Jan-22 net worth Change
354 217 Johann Rupert $6.9 billion $10.4 billion +$3.5 billion
295 331 Nicky Oppenheimer $7.8 billion $8.0 billion +$0.2 billion
1050 1176 Patrice Motsepe $2.8 billion $2.8 billion
1066 1324 Koos Bekker $2.8 billion $2.5 billion -$0.3 billion
2202 1856 Michiel le Roux $1.2 billion $1.7 billion +$0.5 billion

Given the current rankings, Johann Rupert firmly maintains his position as South Africa’s richest man, with the Bloomberg Billionaire Index also placing his net worth of an estimated $11.7 billion above Nicky Oppenheimer’s $8.0 billion fortune.

Forbes and Bloomberg use different metrics to calculate net worth, causing some discrepancies. However, both rankings and lists put Johann Rupert squarely at the top for local billionaires.

Rupert is one of South Africa’s best-known billionaires with shareholding in a large number of South African and international companies.

Through Remgro, he has investments in the financial, healthcare, consumer products, industrial, infrastructure, media, and sports industries. He is the chairman of Richemont, which boasts brands like Cartier, Dunhill, and Mont Blanc, where he owns in excess of 9% of the total shares in the business and has voting power of 51%. Richemont’s market cap of R1.17 trillion gives Rupert a holding of in excess of R100 billion.

Despite the ongoing pressure from the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020 and 2021, Rupert’s portfolio has weathered the storm and added as much as R54 billion to his net worth. This was in line with the fortunes of many of the world’s richest people last year.

According to Bloomberg’s index, which tracks the public portfolios of the world’s billionaires, the richest people around the globe added a combined $402.17 billion to their net worths in 2021.

This was led by South African-born Tesla CEO, Elon Musk, who added $121 billion (30% of the total) to his net worth in 2021, alone. Musk was the first person to see his net worth surpass $300 billion, after shares in Tesla rocketed 60% in 2021, and the company’s market cap blew past a $1 trillion valuation.

Despite falling back below that astronomical figure, the tech boss remains the world’s richest man, exceeding his closest competitor – Amazon’s Jeff Bezos – by as much as $80 billion.

Musk was not alone in his success, however, as a host of other top-earners saw their fortunes exceed $100 billion, including Bezos, who, for a time, was also ranked as the richest man in the world.

Read: How much money you need to be in the richest 1% in South Africa – and how you compare to others

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