The richest people in South Africa in 2024 – including one who lost R19 billion

 ·2 Apr 2024

Hurun Report has published its global rich list for 2024, ranking 3,279 billionaires across the world – including five from South Africa.

South Africa’s richest man, Johann Rupert, retained his position in 2024 with a total net worth of $10 billion (~R188 billion at current rates).

He is followed by another billionaire regular, Nicky Oppenheimer, whose wealth currently sits at $8.5 billion (~R160 billion), according to Hurun.

The only change to the 2024 ranking for South Africa is Patrice Motsepe regaining his third position, having seen his wealth increase by $800 million over the last year to $3.1 billion, moving him up 522 places in the global ranking (1132).

Capitec founder Michiel le Roux also saw gains, adding $300 million to his net worth between 2023 and 2024, and rising 280 places in the global ranking.

Unlike the gainers, some billionaires dropped on the list.

Media tycoon Koos Bekker – who ranked third locally last year – saw his net worth increase by $100 million, but this was not in step with other billionaires; thus he dropped 46 places on the ranking.

Even though he remains the richest man in the country, Rupert saw his total wealth decline from $11 billion in 2023 (down $1 billion or R19 billion), meaning he fell 30 places globally.

Oppenheimer saw his wealth rise by $200 million, but also slid down the rankings, dropping four places.

217Johann Rupert$11 billion$10 billion-$1000 million
291Nicky Oppenheimer$8.3 billion$8.5 billion+$200 million
1132Patrice Motsepe$2.3 billion$3.1 billion+$800 million
1274Koos Bekker$2.7 billion$2.8 billion+$100 million
2171Michiel Le Roux$1.3 billion$1.6 billion+$300 million

Rupert is a well-known businessman in South Africa and owns shares in various companies – the main source of his wealth.

He is Richemont’s chairman, a Swiss-based luxury goods holding company that owns Cartier, Dunhill, and Mont Blanc, where he also maintains 51% voting power. He is also the chairman of Stellenbosch-based investment holding company Remgro, which invests in healthcare, food, sports, and media.

Oppenheimer – a diamond magnate whose family is also known for its wealth – was ranked as the country’s richest man until 2021. Rupert took the title in 2022 and 2023, and now again in 2024.

Global billionaires

According to Hurun Report, 2024 saw something of a resurgence in billionaire wealth, with the list increasing to 3,279 individuals this year, after dipping in 2023 to 3,112.

The number of billionaires increased by 5%, and their total wealth increased by 9% to over $15 trillion.

“The US led the way for new billionaires as stock markets rose to record heights. New York took back its crown of ‘Billionaire Capital of the World’ for the first time in seven years,” the group said.

Looking at the ten richest people in the world, Tesla owner Elon Musk again topped the ranking with a total net worth of approximately $231 billion.

This is quite far ahead of the global number two, Jeff Bezos, at $185 billion.

France’s Bernard Arnault ranked third with a net worth of $175 billion.

Hurun noted that two ‘new’ faces made the Hurun Global Top 10: Mark Zuckerberg (US$158 billion) of Meta and Larry Page (US$123 billion) were featured. They have been featured in the top 10 billionaire lists previously but have dropped out at various points.

For 2024, they re-entered at the expense of Bertrand Puech of Hermes (who passed away) and Francoise Bettencourt Meyers (US$91 billion) of L’Oreal.

The Top 10 added US$426 billion to their collective wealth – now sitting at $1.5 trillion, making up 10% of the total list.

Eight are from the USA and one each from France and India. Bernard Arnault was the only one of the Hurun Top 10 to see his wealth go down.

The cut-off to make the Hurun Top 10 in the world has almost doubled every five years, from US$36 billion ten years ago to US$53 billion five years ago and US$115 billion this year.

#Billionaire2024 WealthChange
1Elon Musk$231 billion+47%
2Jeff Bezos$185 billion+57%
3Bernard Arnault$175 billion-13%
4Mark Zuckerberg$158 billion+132%
5Larry Ellison$144 billion+44%
6Warren Buffet$144 billion+24%
7Steve Ballmer$143 billion+41%
8Bill Gates$138 billion+26%
9Larry Page$123 billion+64%
10Mukesh Ambani$115 billion+40%

Read: Big problems ahead for rich South Africans

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