- South Africa is home to five dollar billionaires over the age of 60, who collectively represent over 25% of Africa’s billionaires.
- These billionaires have diverse backgrounds, with some inheriting their wealth and others being self-made, and have made significant contributions to various industries, such as mining, banking, and luxury goods.
- Despite fluctuations in their net worth, these billionaires remain influential figures, contributing to the economy and social causes in South Africa and beyond.
South Africa is home to five dollar billionaires, who collectively represent over 25% of Africa’s billionaires. These ultra-wealthy individuals are Johann Rupert, Nicky Oppenheimer, Patrice Motsepe, Koos Bekker, and Michiel Le Roux. Interestingly, all five tycoons share one common characteristic: they are all above the age of 60.
The youngest of the group, Patrice Motsepe, is 61, while Nicky Oppenheimer, heir to the DeBeers diamond fortune, is the oldest at 77. These billionaires have made their fortunes in various industries, from mining to banking and luxury goods. However, it’s worth noting that two of South Africa’s billionaires, Johann Rupert and Nicky Oppenheimer, inherited a significant portion of their wealth, while the others are largely self-made.
In recent news, Michiel Le Roux, Co-Founder of Capitec Bank, experienced a considerable decline in his net worth, losing approximately $200 million since the start of this year. The depreciation of the rand and the underperformance of Le Roux’s stake in Capitec Bank led to his net worth falling from $1.8 billion to $1 billion between January 2022 and February 2023, as reported by Billionaires Africa. Forbes’ real-time tracking of billionaires no longer lists Le Roux, but his last recorded net worth stood at $1 billion.
Despite this setback, Johann Rupert remains the wealthiest individual in South Africa in 2023, with a net worth of $11.9 billion. He has added $1.6 billion to his wealth since January this year.
Below is a detailed overview of each billionaire, their fortune, and contributions:
- Johann Rupert (Age: 72, Net worth: $11.9 billion, approx. R217.4 billion) Johann Rupert’s father, Anton Rupert, founded the cigarette company Voorbrand in the 1940s, which later became Rembrandt. Rembrandt was eventually split to form Remgro and Richemont, a decision in which Rupert played a significant role. Rupert is an accomplished businessman with investments in numerous top South African and international companies. Richemont, a luxury goods business, owns iconic brands like Cartier and Montblanc. Remgro is a holding company for various prominent businesses, including Discovery, Outsurance, Mediclinic, Distell, RCL Foods, and Total Energies. Rupert’s companies have created numerous jobs in South Africa, and his family donates significant sums to charity every year.
- Nicky Oppenheimer (Age: 77, Net worth: $8.3 billion, approx. R151.6 billion) Nicky Oppenheimer inherited a vast fortune from the De Beers group, the world’s leading diamond mining company. His father, Harry Oppenheimer, served as chairman of De Beers and mining giant Anglo American, overseeing global suppliers of coal, diamonds, gold, and platinum. In 2012, Nicky Oppenheimer sold 40% of De Beers to Anglo, raising $5.2 billion in cash. He later founded Fireblade Aviation in 2014, which operates chartered flights. The Oppenheimer family is actively involved in conservation efforts in Southern Africa and owns 720 square miles of land across South Africa, Botswana, Zimbabwe, and Mozambique.
- Patrice Motsepe (Age: 61, Net worth: $2.6 billion, approx. R47.5 billion) Patrice Motsepe made his initial fortune through mining interests, founding Foundation Mining in 1994 in his first major business venture. He experienced a rapid rise in the mining sector, taking African Rainbow Minerals (ARM) public in 2002. ARM has interests in a diverse range of mines, including platinum, coal, iron, copper, and gold. Motsepe also founded African Rainbow Capital, which has stakes in several prominent businesses in South Africa, such as Rain, Afrimat, and TymeBank. Additionally, he owns approximately 18% of Sanlam, the country’s largest insurance provider, through an investment trust that serves as the insurer’s empowerment partner.
- Koos Bekker (Age: 70, Net worth: $2.4 billion, approx. R43.8 billion) Koos Bekker is the former CEO of Naspers, where he led the media group to one of the most significant venture investments in history when the company acquired a third of the Chinese technology firm Tencent. Tencent currently ranks as the twelfth largest company globally, and Naspers has prospered as a result. Bekker retired as CEO in 2014 and returned as the company’s chairman in 2015, a position he still holds today.
- Michiel Le Roux (Age: 73, Net worth: $1 billion, approx. R18.3 billion) Michiel Le Roux founded Capitec Bank in 2001, which has experienced exponential growth ever since. He served as the bank’s chairman for nearly ten years and continues to own approximately 11% of the institution. Although Le Roux trained as a lawyer, he never practiced law. Before founding Capitec, he gained banking experience with Boland Bank and started Capitec alongside Riaan Stassen, the bank’s first CEO.
Title: South Africa’s Top 5 Billionaires
|Name||Age||Net Worth (USD)||Approx. Net Worth (ZAR)||Industry|
|Johann Rupert||72||$11.9 billion||R217.4 billion||Luxury goods, Investments|
|Nicky Oppenheimer||77||$8.3 billion||R151.6 billion||Diamonds, Aviation|
|Patrice Motsepe||61||$2.6 billion||R47.5 billion||Mining, Investments|
|Koos Bekker||70||$2.4 billion||R43.8 billion||Media, Technology|
|Michiel Le Roux||73||$1 billion||R18.3 billion||Banking|
In conclusion, South Africa’s five billionaires have diverse backgrounds and industries of influence, but they all share two common factor: being over the age of 60 and male. As they continue to make significant contributions to the economy and various social causes, these billionaires remain influential figures in South Africa and beyond.