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2023-12-01 7:04 PM

Billionaire Landscape: South Africa’s Global Titans Redefining Wealth

  • South African Billionaires: The article highlights the notable billionaires originating from South Africa, showcasing their wealth across diverse industries such as luxury goods, diamonds, mining, banking, and retail. Johann Rupert, Nicky Oppenheimer, and Koos Bekker rank among the wealthiest in South Africa, accumulating substantial fortunes through their respective ventures.
  • Global Reach of South African Roots: Beyond the recognized South African billionaires, the piece sheds light on additional billionaires of South African descent who have established themselves internationally. Figures like Elon Musk, Ivan Glasenberg, Clive Calder, Patrick Soon-Shiong, and Nathan Kirsh have achieved immense wealth and success in various sectors, including technology, mining, media, healthcare, and retail, contributing significantly to their respective industries.
  • Wealth, Influence, and International Residences: The article underscores the staggering net worth of these individuals, highlighting their global impact and residences. While rooted in South Africa, these billionaires have expanded their empires worldwide, residing in countries such as the USA, Switzerland, the UK, and Eswatini, showcasing their diverse backgrounds and global influence in shaping various sectors of the economy.
By Miriam Matoma

In the realm of affluence, South Africa boasts six dollar billionaires, a league of extraordinary individuals who’ve carved their wealth from various industries. Yet, beyond these figures, other native-born billionaires have expanded their empires across the globe.

Forbes, the epitome of wealth tracking, unveils Johann Rupert and his family as South Africa’s wealthiest, tallying a staggering $9.4 billion (R175.7 billion) largely through Richemont’s luxury empires—Cartier and Montblanc—and Remgro, their holding company.

Following closely is diamond tycoon Nicky Oppenheimer, flaunting a net worth of $8.3 billion (R155.1 billion), while Naspers’ chair, Koos Bekker, holds the third position with $2.4 billion (R44.9 billion). Not far behind, mining magnate Patrice Motsepe secures fourth place with $2.3 billion.

Despite a significant dip in 2023, Michiel le Roux, the Capitec founder, lands fifth, boasting a net worth of $1.1 billion (R20.5 billion). Retail mogul Christo Wiese completes this elite circle with a worth of $1 billion (R18.7 billion), reclaiming his spot in Forbes’ billionaire roster.

Nonetheless, Forbes overlooks five other billionaires with South African roots and upbringing, although not specifically categorized as South African billionaires.

Elon Musk, the world’s richest, spearheads this group with vast interests in Tesla, SpaceX, OpenAI, Twitter (X), commanding a monumental net worth of $248.2 billion (R4.6 trillion).

Switzerland-based former Glencore CEO, Ivan Glasenberg, ranks third among South African-born individuals, boasting a wealth of $8.8 billion (R164.5 billion). Clive Calder, a media tycoon based in the UK, holds a formidable net worth of $5.7 billion (R106.5 billion).

Patrick Soon-Shiong, an alumnus of the University of the Witwatersrand, pioneered the cancer-fighting drug Abraxane, accumulating a staggering $5.6 billion (R104.7 billion). Nathan Kirsh, now residing in Eswatini, features on Forbes’ list with $5.6 billion (R104.7 billion), primarily from Jetro Holdings in the US, owning retail giants Jetro Cash and Carry and Restaurant Depot.

These South African-born billionaires, scattered across the globe, represent a diverse array of industries and spheres. Here’s a comprehensive breakdown of their residences, wealth sources, and current net worth:

  • Elon Musk: USA, Tesla, SpaceX – $248.2 billion (R4.6 trillion)
  • Johann Rupert: South Africa, Luxury Goods – $9.4 billion (R175.7 billion)
  • Ivan Glasenberg: Switzerland, Mining – $8.8 billion (R164.5 billion)
  • Nicky Oppenheimer: South Africa, Diamonds – $8.3 billion (R155.1 billion)
  • Clive Calder: UK, Media – $5.7 billion (R106.5 billion)
  • Patrick Soon-Shiong: USA, Healthcare – $5.6 billion (R104.7 billion)
  • Nathan Kirsh: Eswatini, Retail, Real Estate – $5.6 billion (R104.7 billion)
  • Koos Bekker: South Africa, Media, Investments – $2.4 billion (R44.9 billion)
  • Patrice Motsepe: South Africa, Mining – $2.3 billion (R43.0 billion)
  • Michiel le Roux: South Africa, Banking – $1.1 billion (R20.5 billion)
  • Christo Wiese: South Africa, Retail – $1 billion (R18.7 billion)

These individuals, while rooted in South Africa, have contributed immensely to various global sectors, shaping the landscape of wealth and industry on a multinational scale. Their diverse backgrounds and ventures not only reflect their origins but also highlight their global influence and economic impact.

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Miriam Matoma

Miriam is a freelance writer, she covers economics and government news for Rateweb. You can contact her on: Email: miriam@rateweb.co.za Twitter: @MatomaMiriam