These are the richest people in South Africa at the end of 2023

 ·11 Dec 2023

Data from Forbes’ real-time ranking of billionaires shows that 2023 has been a mixed bag for South Africa’s five wealthiest individuals.

Like last year, luxury goods mogul Johann Rupert, former diamond magnate Nicky Oppenheimer, media mogul Koos Bekker, mining boss Patrice Motsepe, and Capitec founder Michiel le Roux were the wealthiest South Africans for 2023.

Maintaining his top spot, Rupert was the only South African billionaire reported by Forbes to have made financial gains over the year – recording a $400 million (R7.6 billion) net worth increase.

Bekker kept a steady ship, maintaining his $2.4 billion (R45.7 billion) net worth from last year.

On the other hand, three of the country’s well-known billionaires, Oppenheimer, Motsepe, and le Roux, have less money than they did at this time last year – recording net worths amounting to hundreds of millions of dollars less than in 2022.

All of the billionaires mentioned above dropped in the global billionaire rankings from last year, with Motsepe and le Roux dropping nearly 300 and over 400 places, respectively.

The ‘big-five’ wealthiest South Africans:

BillionaireDec-22 world ranking Dec-23 world rankingDec-22 net worthDec-23 net worth Change
Johann Rupert202206$9.4 billion$9.8 billion (R186.7 billion)+$400 million
Nicky Oppenheimer226276$8.6 billion$8.3 billion (R158.1 billion)-$300 million
Koos Bekker12511291$2.4 billion$2.4 billion (R45.7 billion)No change
Patrice Motsepe10651324$2.7 billion$2.3 billion (R43.8 billion)-$400 million
Michiel le Roux20042433$1.4 billionR1.1 billion (R20.9 billion)-$300 million
Source: Forbes

When looking at the world rankings, the top five richest South Africans find themselves dispersed. Rupert is 70 spots above second-place Oppenheimer and over 1,200 places above third-placed Bekker.

Motsepe did not maintain his bronze medal position, dropping to fourth place. Fifth-placed le Roux sits over 2,200 spots behind Rupert.

The Bloomberg Billionaire Index (which uses different metrics to calculate net worth, causing some discrepancies) places the country’s billionaires in a similar ranking, but their net worth estimates differ.

Johann Rupert is placed at the top of the Bloomberg list of wealthiest South Africans, with an estimated net worth of $11.7 billion (R223.3 billion), which is an estimated $778 million (R14.8 billion) increase from last year.

Rupert has control over the world’s largest luxury watchmaker, Cie Financiere Richemont, which owns brands such as Montblanc and Cartier. Rupert’s other assets include Remgro, an investment holding company based in Stellenbosch, South Africa, which has stakes in over 30 companies.

Remgro saw growth in 2023, recording an 8.9% increase in their headline earnings per share (HEPS) to R12.51 for the year.

Oppenheimer is placed second by Bloomberg, representing a net worth of $9.43 billion (R179.9 billion), an estimated $1.4 billion (R26.7 billion) increase from last year. Bloomberg estimates this increase results from his private equity investments in Africa, Asia, the US, and Europe through London-based Stockdale Street and Johannesburg-based Tana Africa Capital.

Leading Forbes’ billionaire rankings is South African-born Tesla CEO Elon Musk, with a net worth of $248 billion (R4.7 trillion) – a $49 billion (R935.6 billion) increase from last year.

This is followed by France’s luxury brand mogul Bernard Arnault with $197.2 billion (R3.7 trillion), followed by Amazon founder and chairman Jeff Bezos with $169.7 billion (R3.2 trillion).

A notable mover was India’s infrastructure and commodities tycoon Gautam Adani, who dropped from being the third richest person in December 2022 to 16th (as of December 11, 2023). Bloomberg estimates that Adani’s net worth dropped by $35.4 billion (R676.5 billion) over the year.

Read: South Africa’s billionaires – here’s how their wealth has changed in 2023

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