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Photo FinGlobal

How many Billionaires in South Africa Today?

Almost all of South Africa’s super-wealthy individuals have seen their fortunes grow over the last 12 months, with two local billionaires now ranked among the richest 250 people in the world.

Forbes has published its annual Billionaires List for 2022, tracking the wealth of the world’s richest people over the last year, including five from South Africa.

In the 2022 ranking, luxury goods tycoon Johann Rupert ranks as the richest man in South Africa with an estimated net worth of $8.9 billion, up 25% from $7.1 billion in 2021.

Rupert moves ahead of mining magnate Nicky Oppenheimer, whose fortune of $8.7 billion tracks closely behind. Both Rupert and Oppenheimer now rank within the top 250, placing 230th and 241st, respectively.

South Africa’s other billionaires include familiar names on the list – mineral resources boss Patrice Motsepe saw his fortune grow by $400 million over the period, while Capitec founder Michiel le Roux has cemented his place on the ranking with his net worth growing to $1.8 billion.

The only local billionaire to suffer a loss is media mogul Koos Bekker, whose wealth declined by 23% over the last year to $2.3 billion from $3 billion.

What is the net worth of South Africa's billionaires? Up or down trend?

Data from Forbes’ real-time ranking of billionaires shows that some of South Africa’s wealthiest people have experienced a decline in their net worth in 2022, led by Johann Rupert, who is a billion dollars poorer.

Despite Rupert’s luxury goods group Richemont’s JSE shares climbing by a record 84% in January 2022, as resilient pandemic sales buoyed the sector, it now sits on a year-to-date decline of 3.93%.

Four of South Africa’s well-known billionaires, including Rupert, Capitec founder Michiel le Roux, mining boss Patrice Motsepe, and media mogul Koos Bekker, have less money than they had in January 2022, while former diamond magnate Nicky Oppenheimer’s net worth moved up by $0.6 billion.

Despite losing money in 2022, almost all the aforementioned billionaires have climbed the global rankings – with the exception being Le Roux, who dropped by over 100 places.

The fact that these South African billionaires have gained in the rankings while experiencing a drop in their net worth points to a wider trend in global billionaires’ fortunes dwindling in 2022 – at least to a greater extent than those in South Africa.

READ MORE: Top 10 Richest People In The World In 2023: Net Worth Down and Up?

Who is the richest man in South Africa?

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Photo Male and Guardian

Everyone in South Africa knows of Johann Rupert. Not only is the 71-year-old entrepreneur the second wealthiest person on the African continent, he is also South Africa’s richest citizen. According to Forbes, the super wealthy Rupert currently boasts a bank balance of almost US$8 billion.

Born to successful South African businessman and philanthropist Anton Rupert, the billionaire businessman founded Compagnie Financière Richemont in 1988, more commonly known as Richemont. The luxury goods business manages several high profile luxury brands; including Cartier, Dunhill, Piaget, Montblanc and Van Cleef & Arpels, among others. Rupert’s company is the third largest luxury goods company on the planet, trailing behind juggernauts LVMH and Estée Lauder, per Deloitte’s 2019 report on Global Powers of Luxury Goods.

What does richest man in South Africa own?

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Photo Ventures Africa


Though he enjoys fame and fortune, Rupert is a notoriously private person who lives his life as much as possible away from the public eye. The Ruperts live in a huge home in Cape Town, South Africa. As per Briefly News, it has been reported that their mansion is worth over US$2.1 million (two million euros).

Additionally, the Ruperts own swathes of South African farmlands, most notably L’Ormarins Wine Estate, which includes Drakenstein Stud Farm. The expansive wine estate is located in one of South Africa’s famed wine-producing regions, Franschhoek.


Like many of his moneyed counterparts, a considerable amount of the Richemont CEO’s riches has been spent on motor vehicles. Cars are clearly one of Rupert’s real passions; in fact, his collection of cars is so great that he established the Franschhoek Motor Museum.

The museum is open to the public and houses over 220 of Rupert’s personal automobiles, including many vintage vehicles and even some racing cars.


In 2001, Rupert’s brother Anthonij passed away in a car accident. Following this tragedy, Rupert assumed control of L’Ormarins Wine Estate in picturesque Franschhoek. As a means of honouring his late brother’s memory, Rupert began to expand the family’s viticultural operations.

Top 10 richest people in South Africa

10. Jannie Mouton - $1 billion

Jannie Mouton, alias Buddha Buffett, has an estimated net worth of $1 billion. He is the founder and chair of PSG Group, a company that deals with investments in banking, financial services, private equity, and education agriculture industries.

9. Ivan and Lynette Saltzman - $1 billion

Ivan and Lynette Saltzman are billionaire couples who are among the richest men in South Africa.

Moreover, the billionaire couple co-founded a pharmaceutical company named Dischem in 1978. Dischem was founded when they recently opened their first retail pharmacy in Mondeor, south of Johannesburg, South Africa.

Currently, the couple’s net worth is estimated to be $1 billion.

8. Allan Gray - $1.5 billion

After graduating from Harvard business school in 1965, Gray worked at Fidelity management and research for eight years where he built a reputation for being a successful investor.

He returned to South Africa in 1973 to find what would become Allan Gray Limited in Cape Town. Allan Gray is an investment management company from South Africa founded by Allan Grey in 1973. The company has offices in other different parts of Africa.

Though he died at 80 in 2019, he still tops the list of the top 10 richest men in South Africa.

7. Stephen Saad - $1.9 billion

The founder of the Aspen pharmaceutical maker Stephen Saad is one of the richest men in South Africa with an estimated net worth of $1.4 billion.

He founded the Aspen pharmaceutical maker in 1997 and it is counted among the largest pharmaceutical companies.

The South African billionaire was born in South Africa on 23 June 1965. His company produces the largest producer of generic medicines in Africa.

6. Michiel Le Roux - $1.9 billion

Michiel Le Roux is a South African businessman and entrepreneur. In addition, he is the creator and chairman of Capitec Bank, a leading South African retail bank. As of March 2018, Le Roux has a net worth of $1.6 billion, making him the seventh richest person in South Africa.

Le Roux was born in Johannesburg and raised in Vereeniging, Gauteng Province. After completing his studies at the University of Pretoria, he became an auditor at PricewaterhouseCoopers.

5. Koos Bekker - $2.3 billion

Koos Beeker is renouned for not just being an adroit business man but for his vast educational background. He attended Hoer Volkskool in Heidelberg, South Africa for his secondary school Education. He then earned a BA in Literature (1972) and BA in law from Stellenbosch University (1975). He went for his LLB in Witwatersrand (1978), then an MBA degree from the Columbia Administration, in 1984.

Business background: His business life started when he founded multichoice, he is also founding director of the mobile communication company MTN. In 1997 Bekker also became CEO of Naspers.

Origin of wealth and industry: Bekker is the chairman of the media group Naspers.

He founded Multichoice and is the director of MTN.

4. Patrice Motsepe - $3.3 billion

Who is the richest black person in South Africa? Patrice Motsepe is the wealthiest black person in the country with a net worth of $3.3 billion. His wealth is derived from the mining industry. He founded African Rainbow Minerals, a diversified mining and minerals company operating in South Africa and Malaysia. He also owns African Rainbow Capital, a private equity company that invests in Africa.

3. Christoffel Wiese - $5.4 billion

Christoffel Wiese ranks third on the list with a net worth of $5.4 billion. He serves as the chair of Pepkor, a company that retails discount clothes, textiles, and shoes.

He has also invested heavily in seven companies listed on the stock exchange. Additionally, he owns Lanzerac Manor & Winery and wine producer Lourensford Estate.

2. Nicky Oppenheimer - $8.7 billion

For several years Nicholas, aka Nicky Oppenheimer was not only the richest man in South Africa, but he is also the third richest man in Africa. Nicky was born into money, his grandfather Ernest Oppenheimer took control of De Beers in 1929 and built it up to become the world’s biggest diamond company and also founded the Anglo American mining company.

However, the businessman accumulated the majority of his wealth in 2012 when he sold his families 40% share in De Beers for a whooping $5.2 billion in cash.

In addition to that fat cash payout, Mr Oppenhiemer has private equity investments across Africa, in Europe, Asia and in the US. His pockets clearly run deep and he secures his spot on the 10 richest people in South Africa list with a current net worth of an estimated 8.7 billion USD.

1. Johann Rupert - $9.11 billion

Johann Rupert grew up in Stellenbosch and attended Paul Roos Gymnasium and the University of Stellenbosch. The eldest son of businessman, conservationist and philanthropist Anton Rupert. Initially studying company law and economics he dropped out to pursue a career in business.

Origin of wealth and industry: Johann Rupert is the chairman of Swiss luxury goods firm Compagnie Financiere Richemont, known for the brands Cartier and Montblanc and the South Africa-based company Remgro. The company was formed in 1988 through a spin-off of assets owned by Rembrandt Group Limited (now Remgro Limited). This company was formed by his father, Anton Rupert in 1940. His main office is located at Groot Paardevlei in Somerset Wes.

Female billionaires in South Africa

South African women continue to break through long-standing barriers across sectors. In this roundup, we’re taking a look at strong women pioneers contributing to the South African economy - paving the way for future generations of aspiring businesswomen. Let's meet 4 female billionaires in South Africa

1. Wendy Appelbaum


Industry: Diversified - Liberty Investors; De Morgenzon Wine Estate

She ranks as one of the most affluent and empowered women in Africa; Wendy Appelbaum is a celebrated South African business giant, philanthropist, and Chairperson of the DeMorgenzon Wine Estate - an agricultural business based in Stellenbosch. Previously, Wendy also served as the Deputy-Chairman of the Women’s Investment Portfolio Limited (Wiphold Limited), which is a renowned women’s investment holding company that is listed on JSE

Overall, Wendy is popularly known for exhibiting a high level of selflessness, top-tier leadership abilities in business and economic development, and displaying keen interest in health and welfare sectors. Through The Wendy Appelbaum Foundation her company initiates, selects and drives programmes addressing, in the main, the health and education interests and concerns of South African women. Wendy is also a director of Sphere Holdings (Pty) Ltd, which is a black empowerment company addressing financial services in mining sectors. In 2015, she was awarded both the Forbes Woman Businesswoman of the Year, and the Forbes Africa Woman of the Year.

READ MORE: The Full List of American Billionaires 2023 - Who Are Richest People in the US

2. Wendy Ackerman


Industry: Retail - Pick N Pay Holdings Ltd.

Wendy Ackerman is one of the founders and an Executive Director of Pick n Pay Stores. Along with her husband Raymond Ackerman, Wendy has been a tremendous force in building up one of South Africa’s leading FMCG retailers, which, to date, consists of over 450 stores, with the inclusion of 121 supermarkets and 14 hypermarkets. The company extends its food and retail services across South Africa, southern Africa and even Australia, and has employed an estimated 49,000 people over the years. Wendy is also a patron of the 1000 Women Trust; she was antecedent to the 1000 Women 1 Voice initiative, which was launched in 2004, resulting in the creation of the 1000 Women Trust.

This Trust is geared towards making resources more accessible to provide access to skills and leadership capacity building. It also provides financial assistance to women-led organisations that provide aid to underprivileged communities. Wendy received an Inyathelo Award for her family’s philanthropic efforts in 2007.

3. Irene Charnley

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Photo issu


Industry: Technology - Smile Telecoms

Former trade unionist and businesswoman, Irene Charnley started her career in the South African business sector working as a negotiator for the South African National Union of Mineworkers, spending 13 years as a coordinator for a variety of divisions within the union operations department. Later on in her career, Irene was appointed as an executive director for the MTN Group – one of Africa’s largest telecommunications company. Under her leadership several African and Middle Eastern countries (including Nigeria and Iran) were connected into the MTN network.

She was also behind the launch of the National Empowerment Consortium, which is made up of 50% black business owners and 50% black African labourers. Eventually, The National Empowerment Consortium obtained 35% ownership of Johnnic Holdings, which now operates under the name Johnnic Communications. Earlier this year, Irene, who is the founder and Deputy Chairman of Smile Telecoms ─ the Pan-African telecommunications group which was established in 2007 ─ received a Forbes Woman Africa Pioneer Award for her dedication to transforming the continent’s telecommunication landscape. Still hard at work, Irene is the current President of the IWFSA, and spearheads the Ikageng Scheme – the broad-based black empowerment agreement based in South Africa.

4. Bridgette Radebe


Industry: Mining - Mmakau Mining

Recognised as the first black female mining entrepreneur, Bridgette Motsepe- Radebe the Founder and Executive Chairperson of Mmakau Mining Limited – a company she started in the 1980s. Mmakau Mining Limited is a mining firm which inducts explorations and assists in producing platinum, gold, and chrome.

Bridgette is the sister of South African businessman Patrice Motsepe and Tshepo Motsepe – the First Lady of South Africa. She has over 3 decades of experience in the mining industry and is the President of South Africa’s largest mining chamber – the South African Mining Development Association. In 2008, she received the International Businessperson of the Year Award presented by the Global Foundation for Democracy. This accolade recognises business people who have made a significant impact in the world, transforming both political and environmental models.

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