10 things you should know about South Africa’s ultra-rich

At the end of 2014, there were approximately 46,800 high net worth individuals (HNWIs) living in South Africa, with a combined wealth of US$184 billion.

HNWIs are defined as people who have a net worth of US$1 million or more, according to metrics used by research firm, New World Wealth.

This equates to roughly 31% of South Africa’s total individual wealth.

But who are the wealthy? Where do they live? How did thy make their money?

BusinessTech provides a list of 10 things we know about South Africa’s super rich.

1. How the rich make their money in SA

A report published by New World Wealth revealed the industry from which South African multi-millionaires have acquired their wealth.

Unsurprisingly, the financial services industry is the primary source of wealth for 20% of local multi-millionaires.

NWW defines wealth as the net value of assets, which includes financial holdings, business interests and tangible assets. The group excludes primary residences from it’s valuation.

Multimillioniares by industry
Multimillioniares by industry

2. Where the rich live

Johannesburg is home to the highest population of ultra-rich billionaires in Africa when it comes to cities on the continent.

In fact, the 2015 Knight Frank Global Wealth Report shows that the South African economic hub has almost twice the number of multi-millionaires – people with a net worth exceeding $30 million (R365 million).

Joburg city
Joburg city

 3. South Africa’s rich vs the world

Financial services firm Credit Suisse estimates that 63,000 South Africans are part of the top 1% of global wealth holders – and 47,000 of these individuals are dollar millionaires.

According to the group’s data, about 920,000 people (2.8% of the adult population in SA) are worth over US$100,000, fitting comfortably within the top 10% of wealth holders in the world.

Money Rand

4. Richest streets in SA

Lightstone Property revealed which streets in SA command the highest average sales transfer prices.

The affluent suburbs of Cape Town dominate the list, with four of the five richest streets found in areas such as Clifton, Fresnaye, Llandudno and Bishopscourt.

Gauteng, too, accounts for many of the top addresses, with streets in Hyde Park, Bryanston and Sandhurst valued in the tens of millions.

# Street Suburb Average Value
1 Clifton Road Clifton 49 000 000
2 De Wet Road Fresnaye 43 000 000
3 Steenways Road Llandudno 40 000 000
4 4th Road Hyde park 34 000 000
5 Upper Sidmouth Avenue Gardens 29 200 000

5. The best age to be rich

According to NWW, the average age of a multi-millionaire in SA, namely an individual with wealth of at least US$10 million, is 55 years.

This is slightly below the worldwide average of approximately 56 years.

The majority of them, 37%, are aged between 51 and 60 years, while 20% are between the ages of 61-70, and 9% are 70 and older.

In South Africa, the country’s billionaires are aged between 50 (Stephen Saad) and 77 (Allan Gray). The richest man in the country, Johann Rupert, is 67 years old.

Interestingly, however, 34% of the country’s multi-millionaires are actually under 50, with 28% between 41-50, and 6% under the age of 40. This would suggest quite a reasonable amount of entrepreneurial activity in the country.

Rich kid billionaire
Rich kid billionaire

6. What the rich buy

Super luxury watches are a booming market in South Africa.

Not long ago, when one thought of exclusive men’s watches one would probably think of brands such as Rolex, Breitling, Omega, Tag, Cartier, IWC, Panerai, Jaeger Le Coultre, and Longines.

However, a whole new world of exclusivity has emerged, giving rise to new ‘super-luxury’ watchmakers, according to New World Wealth.

In November 2014, a Patek Philippe Super-complication pocket watch sold for an astounding $24 million at a Sotheby’s auction, following a previous record of $11 million in 1999.

Patek Philippe Supercomplication
Patek Philippe Supercomplication

 7. Home, sweet second home

Approximately 990 of all SA’s multi-millionaires have a primary residence in Johannesburg, with 380 in Cape Town, 115 in Durban, and 105 in Pretoria.

The super-rich choose to live in areas such as Sandhurst, Hyde Park, and Houghton – but many also have a second home in coastal regions.

# Town Area No. of super-rich with second homes
1 Plettenberg Bay Garden Route 260
2 Umhlanga & La Lucia KwaZulu-Natal 250
3 Knysna Garden Route 230
4 Stellenbosch Western Cape 170
5 Franschoek Western Cape 70
6 Wilderness Garden Route 60
7 Hermanus Garden Route 30

8. Elite banking

The super rich also have their own way of banking.

Issued by Nedbank Private Wealth, Centurion is a credit card available by invitation only or upon appointment to a select group of individuals in South Africa.

The Centurion Card is made of titanium, one of the world’s most precious metals. After being heated to a temperature of 1,688°C, the metal is carefully handcrafted and emblazoned with the Member’s name in individually set lettering – making it the only one of its kind.

See other elite cards in SA here

American Express Black Card
American Express Black Card

9.  The rich get going

Rich South Africans are spreading their roots as they leave local shores.

Between 2000 and 2014, approximately 8,000 HNWIs have left the country.

South African HNWIs tend to move to places like Australia, the UK, Cyprus, Mauritius, the USA and Canada, NWW said.

AUS map

10. South Africa’s richest people

Forbes listed seven South African billionaires worth a combined $28.6 billion, up from $25.4 billion in 2014.

South African luxury goods tycoon, Johann Rupert remains the country’s richest man with a net worth of $7.4 billion.

Rank# Name Net Worth 2015 Net Worth 2014 Change
179 Johann Rupert $7.4 billion $7.6 billion -2.6%
201 Nicky Oppenheimer $6.7 billion $6.7 billion 0.0%
225 Christo Wiese $6.3 billion $3.2 billion 97.0%
810 Koos Bekker $2.3 billion $1.3 billion 76.9%
847 Patrice Motsepe $2.2 billion $2.7 billion -18.5%
894 Stephen Saad $2.1 billion $1.3 billion 61.5%
1226 Allan Gray $1.6 billion $1.3 billion 23.1%

More on the ultra rich in South Africa

How South Africa’s ultra-rich make their money

The most expensive streets in South Africa

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10 things you should know about South Africa’s ultra-rich