The richest people in South Africa are Johann Rupert, Nicky Oppenheimer, Patrice Motsepe, Koos Becker, and Michiel Le Roux.
They are all Dollar billionaires, which means South Africa has over 25% of the continent’s 19 billionaires.
Another interesting observation is that all these billionaires are old. Patrice Motsepe is the youngest at 60, while all the others are over 70.
Two of them – Johann Rupert and Nicky Oppenheimer – inherited much of their wealth, while the others created most of it.
Here is a breakdown of each billionaire and how they made their fortune.
Johann Rupert and Family – Net worth of R161 billion
When Anton Rupert founded the cigarette company Voorbrand in the 1940s, he wouldn’t have foreseen the sprawling business empire that has made his family the wealthiest in the country.
Voorbrand became Rembrandt, and Rembrandt was then split to form Remgro and Richemont – a decision that Anton’s son Johann was instrumental in pushing through.
Johann Rupert is one of South Africa’s most successful and best-known businessmen in his own right, with investments in many top South African and international companies.
Richemont is in the business of luxury goods. The company owns luxury brands, including Cartier and Montblanc, which have been incredibly successful.
Remgro is a holding company for a vast swath of businesses, including Discovery, Outsurance, Mediclinic, Distell, RCL Foods, and Total Energies.
His companies have created many jobs in the country, and his family commits large sums of money to charity.
Nicky Oppenheimer and Family – Net worth of R157 billion
Nicky Oppenheimer inherited an incredible fortune in the form of the De Beers group – the worlds leading diamond mining company.
Nicky’s father, Harry, was the chairman of De Beers and the mining giant Anglo American. He was in charge of the world’s largest coal, diamonds, gold, and platinum suppliers.
Nicky Oppenheimer decided to sell 40% of DeBeers to Anglo in 2012, which raised $5.2 billion in cash.
He started Fireblade Aviation in 2014, which operates chartered flights.
The Oppenheimer family contribute to conservation efforts in Southern Africa and owns 720 square miles of land across South Africa, Botswana, Zimbabwe, and Mozambique.
Patrice Motsepe – Net worth of R59 billion
Motsepe initially made his fortune through mining interests. He started Foundation Mining in 1994 – his first significant business venture. His rise in the mining sector was meteoric from there.
Motsepe took African Rainbow Minerals (ARM) public in 2002, which has interests in a wide range of mines, including platinum, coal, iron, copper, and gold.
He also started African Rainbow Capital which has a stake in many prominent businesses in the country, including Rain, Afrimat, and ThymeBank.
He owns around 18% of Sanlam, the largest insurance provider in the country, through an investment trust which is the empowerment partner for the insurer.
Koos Becker – Net worth of R47 billion
As the former CEO of Naspers, Becker led the media group to one of the greatest venture investments ever when the company acquired a third of the Chinese technology company Tencent.
Tencent is currently the twelve biggest company in the world, and Naspers has thrived as a result.
Becker retired as CEO in 2014 and returned as chairman of the company in 2015, where he remains to this day.
Michiel Le Roux – Net worth of R21 billion
Le Roux founded Capitec in 2001, which has grown meteorically since then. He was chairman of Capitec for almost ten years and still owns approximately 11% of the bank.
Le Roux trained as a lawyer but never practised law. He had previous banking experience with Boland Bank, before starting Capitec with Riaan Stassen, who was the first CEO of the bank.