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South Africa’s five richest men and how they made their money

by Chidi Emenike

Boasting a population of more than 60 million, South Africa is Africa’s third-largest economy, with a nominal GDP of $329.53 billion, following Nigeria ($514.05 billion) and Egypt ($394.28 billion).

The country is also home to the second-highest number of billionaires on the continent, with five, one less than Egypt.

Data gathered by Billionaires. Africa revealed that South Africa has the highest concentration of private wealth on the continent, with five billionaires, 1,930 multimillionaires and 36,500 high net-worth individuals.

These individuals collectively control over $600 billion in total wealth.

Here is a list of South Africa’s five billionaires and how they made their wealth.

#1 Johann Rupert & Family

Net worth: $12.1 billion

Source: Diversified

Johann Rupert controls the world’s largest luxury watchmaker, Cie Financiere Richemont, through a family trust. He also owns a significant stake in Reinet Investments and a one-percent stake in the South Africa-based investment vehicle, Remgro.

Since the start of this year, he has seen his net worth rise by $4.11 billion, making him the only African to gain such a staggering amount of wealth so far in 2021. Of this amount, the tycoon gained about $400 million in the last eight days.

Billionaires. Africa understands that the surge in his net worth is largely driven by the double-digit surge in the shares of his Swiss-based luxury goods company, Richemont, which has gained about 86.21 percent since the start of 2021.

Net worth: $7.85 billion

#2 Nicky Oppenheimer & Family

Source: Diversified

Nicky Oppenheimer is the second wealthiest man in South Africa and the 350th richest man in the world. The billionaire holds the majority of his wealth through private equity investments in Africa, Asia, the United States and Europe through the London-based Stockdale Street and Johannesburg-based Tana Africa Capital.

Research by Billionaires.Africa revealed that Oppenheimer has lost about $380 million in the past month after his net worth slumped from $8.23 billion to $7.85 billion. The tycoon incurred about 74 percent of this loss ($280 million) in a single day.

Billionaires.Africa understands that the loss was largely due to the revaluation of his private equity investments following his divestment of a 40-percent equity stake in the world’s largest diamond producer, De Beers.

In 2012, the billionaire sold his family’s 40-percent stake in De Beers to the Anglo American mining company for $5.2 billion in cash, ending his family’s 80-year ownership.

Despite the slump in his net worth in the past one month, Billionaires.Africa gathered that the billionaire has cumulatively grown his wealth by $700 million since the year began.

#3 Patrice Motsepe

Net worth: $2.5 billion

Source: Mining

Patrice Tlhopane Motsepe is a South African mining tycoon and the founder of African Rainbow Minerals. In 2008, he became the first Black African billionaire to be named on the Forbes list.

He is the third richest man in South Africa, the ninth in Africa and the 1064th in the world, with an estimated net worth of $2.5 billion.

He also owns a private equity firm, African Rainbow Capital (ARC), and has a significant stake in Sanlam.

In November, the billionaire announced that ARC will acquire CSG Holdings.

CSG Holdings is a South Africa-based multidisciplinary outsourced services group.

Remarkably, the billionaire is a lover of sport. He is the president and owner of one of South Africa’s largest football clubs, Mamelodi Sundowns Football Club. He has also served as the president of the Confederation of African Football since March 2021.

#4 Koos Bekker

Net worth: $2.4 billion

Source: Media, Investments

Koos Beeker is the fourth wealtiest man in South Africa and the tenth richest in Africa, according to Forbes. He is the chairman of the South Africa-based media group, Naspers. It operates in 130 countries and is dual-listed on the London Stock Exchange and Johannesburg Stock Exchange.

He is highly revered for transforming the company into an e-commerce investor and cable TV powerhouse. In addition, he led Naspers to invest in the Chinese Internet and media firm, Tencent, in 2001, one of the most profitable investment decisions that he made.

He retired as the CEO of Naspers in March 2014 and returned as chairman the following year.

#5 Michiel Le Roux.

Net worth: $1.5 billion

Source: Banking

Michiel Le Roux is the fifth wealthiest man in South Africa, 16th in Africa and 2524th in the world. He founded Capitec Bank in 2001 and was the CEO until 2014. He also served as the chairman of the bank until 2016 and has remained a board member ever since, owning 11.41 percent of its shares.

Capitec Bank is a South Africa-based retail bank listed on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange. The bank offers products and services targeted toward empowering the emerging middle class in South Africa.

Billionaires.Africa earlier reported that Le Roux has grown his wealth by $359.61 million since the year began. The bump was largely due to an appreciation in the market value of his equity position in Capitec Bank.

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