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26 Of The Richest People in South Africa Here are 26 of South Africa's richest people, but how did they achieve this level of wealth? Find out here.

By Nicole Crampton

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In a world with growing entrepreneurship success stories, victory is often measured in terms of money. The feat of achieving a place on this list is, however, years of hard work, determination and persistence. "One has to set high standards… I can never be happy with mediocre performance," advises Patrice Motsepe.

From the individuals that made the 27 of the richest people in South Africa list, actual entrepreneurs and self-made business people dominate the list; while those who inherited their fortunes have gone on to do even bigger and better things with their wealth. Over the years, some have slipped off the list, while others continue to climb higher and higher each year.

Elisabeth Bradley

  • Net worth: R421 million
  • Age: 77
  • Industry: Investments
  • Source of wealth: Inherited

Elisabeth Bradley's father Albert Wessels brought Toyota to South Africa in 1961.

In 2008, Wesco Investments, a holding company that she controls, sold off its 25% stake for R2.1 billion, according to Forbes. She walked away from the sale with R1 billion.

Bradley still serves on the boards of blue chip companies Standard Bank Group, Hilton Hotel and Roseback Inn.

Sharon Wapnick

  • Net worth: R571 million
  • Age: 57
  • Industry: Investment
  • Source of wealth: Inherited

Sharon Wapnick's father Alec Wapnick, founded Octodec Investments and Premium Properties, two property loan stock companies listed on the Johannesburg Securities Exchange.

Wapnick is one of the top 5 shareholders in each company, and her shares are estimated to be worth R544 million, according to Forbes.

In October 2011, she became the non-executive chairman of Octodec, taking over from her father. Wapnick is also a partner at TWB Attorneys, a prominent commercial law firm.

Bridgette Radebe

  • Net worth: R1.3 billion
  • Age: 57
  • Industry: Mining
  • Source of wealth: Self-made

Bridgette Radebe is the first black female South African deep-level-hard rock mining entrepreneur.

She has more than a decade of experience in contract mining, mining construction, and mergers and acquisitions.

She went on to found Mmakau mining, which is a significantly successful mining operation with assets including platinum, gold, uranium, coal and chrome.

Irene Charnley

  • Net worth: R1.5 billion
  • Age: 57
  • Industry: Telecoms
  • Source of wealth: Self-made

Irene Charnley is a former trade unionist who made her first mark as a shrewd negotiator for the National Union of Mineworkers. She then became Executive Director at MTN, where she helped expand the company's African footprint. Charnley was instrumental in negotiating for and acquiring one of four GSM licenses in Nigeria, but she also helped MTN secure the second GSM license in the Islamic Republic of Iran, says Forbes.

In return, Charnley was rewarded with huge chunk of MTN stock valued at over R2 billion.

Today, she serves as CEO of Smile Telecoms, a low-cost telecommunications operator based in Mauritius.

Wendy Ackerman

  • Net worth: R2.5 billion
  • Age: Not available
  • Industry: Retail
  • Source of wealth: Self-made

Wendy Ackerman started out as a teacher at the English Academy in Soweto, where she taught night school.

She and her husband, Raymond, then became involved in Pick "n Pay and together they have been outstanding entrepreneurial leaders, helping to drive change, growth, vision and innovation within the African retail sector.

Along with her husband, she controls the Ackerman Family Trust, which owns close to 50% of Pick "n Pay.

Paul Harris

  • Net worth: R3.4 billion
  • Age: 61
  • Industry: Banking
  • Source of wealth: Self-made

Paul Harris joined Rand Consolidated Investments soon after it was founded.

When RCI merged with Rand Merchant Bank, he became CEO in 1992, and again in 1998 after it merged with First National Bank to become FirstRand. Harris was the chief executive of the FirstRand group from 2005 to 2009.

He converted Ellerman House in Cape Town's suburbs into one of South Africa's most luxurious boutique hotels. Additionally, he recently started lecturing on business at Stellenbosch University.

Wendy Appelbaum

  • Net worth: R4.73 billion
  • Age: 55
  • Industry: Insurance and Real Estate
  • Source of wealth: Inherited

Wendy Appelbaum inherited a large portion of her fortune from her father SA billionaire Donald Gordon.

Appelbaum was a director at Liberty Investors, the previously listed holding company of the Liberty Group, which is the insurance and real estate concern her father founded, says Forbes.

She sold off her stake in the company, becoming cash-rich. She then donated R150 million to create the Gordon Institute of Business Science (GIBS), and the Donald Gordon Medical Centre.

Mark Shuttleworth

  • Net worth: R4.73 billion
  • Age: 43
  • Industry: Investment and technology
  • Source of wealth: Self-made

At the age of 22, Mark Shuttleworth founded Thawte, a digital certificate and Internet security company. He sold this company to American software giant VeriSign for USD575 million in 1999, when he was 26.

He founded HBD Capital, an emerging markets investment fund. HBD has made a series of successful exits including Fundamo, a mobile financial services company which was acquired by Visa for USD110 million in 2011; and csense, which was acquired by GE Intelligent Platforms.

But, Shuttleworth is probably most famous for founding Ubuntu, a computer operating system that distributed as free open source software. He is also founder of the Shuttleworth Foundation, which funds social entrepreneurs and multiplies their money by a factor of ten or more.

Desmond Sacco

  • Net worth: R4.73 billion
  • Age: 74
  • Industry: Mining
  • Source of wealth: Inherited

Desmond Sacco, chairman and managing director of Assore Group, experienced a halving of his net worth in 2013 because of the drop of price in iron ore, according to Forbes. Sacco's father, Guido, founded the firm in 1928, and passed the reins to his son when he retired in 1992.

The company has a 50% stake in Assmang Limited, a private company that operates seven mines producing chrome, manganese and iron.

Sacco is a geologist, and a fellow at the Geological Society of South Africa and the Institute of Directors in Southern Africa.

Giovanni Ravazzotti

  • Net worth: R4.73 billion
  • Age: 73
  • Industry: Furniture Retailing
  • Source of wealth: Self-made

Giovanni Ravazzotti, an immigrant to Johannesburg from Italy, saw a gap in the market in 1969 for affordable tiles and ceramic products in an increasingly urban South Africa. He began importing and retailing them through a company he founded, Italtile.

Ten years later, with the first hints that there would be trade sanctions against South Africa, he pivoted his business and began manufacturing ceramic tiles domestically.

In 1992, his retail company Italtile and manufacturer Ceramic Industries were listed on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange.

Markus Jooste

  • Net worth: R5.553 billion
  • Age: 55
  • Industry: Furniture Retailing
  • Source of wealth: Self-made

As CEO of Steinhoff International, Markus Jooste has transformed the South African manufacturer into "Africa's Ikea' and the second largest household goods retailer in Europe, says Forbes.

In 2014, Steinhoff International agreed to purchase Pepkor Holdings for USD5.7 billion, adding clothing to the furniture retailer's inventory.

According to Forbes, Jooste joined Steinhoff in 1988 after engineering the sale of a South African retail chain to Steinhoff's German owners.

Gus Attridge

  • Net worth: R5.7 billion
  • Age: 55
  • Industry: Pharmaceuticals
  • Source of wealth: Self-made

Gus Attridge co-founded pharmaceutical maker Aspen Pharmacare with Stephen Saad in 1997. According to Forbes, as Deputy CEO, Attridge owns a 4% stake in in the publicly traded firm.

Aspen Pharmacare is the world's fifth largest generic drug maker, with an expanded global footprint, and a slew of acquisitions in 2013.

Aspen now manufactures drugs in factories around the world, including in Australia, Brazil, Mexico, Germany, South Africa and Tanzania.

Gerrit Thomas Ferreira

  • Net worth: R5.8 billion
  • Age: 68
  • Industry: Banking and insurance
  • Source of wealth: Self-made

Gerrit Thomas Ferreira co-founded of one of the largest financial services groups in South Africa.

In 1977, alongside his partners Paul Harries and Laurie Dippenaar, Ferreira started Rand Consolidated Investing, says Forbes.

After a series of successful mergers and acquisitions, FirstRand was formed in the 1990. The business now has operations across South Africa and India. FirstRand group has two listed subsidiaries RMI Holdings for insurance and RMB Holdings for banking, which is where majority of Ferreira's wealth comes from. Ferreira is still a non-executive chairman.

Adrian Gore

  • Net worth: R6.7 billion
  • Age: 52
  • Industry: Financial services
  • Source of wealth: Self-made

Adrian Gore is founder and CEO of Discovery Holdings, which provides health insurance for more than 200 000 companies and close to two million people.

In 1992, Adrian Gore raised seed funding from Laurie Dippenaar to found the medical insurer after years of working with Liberty Life.

Discovery was listed on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange, and also has operations in the UK and the USA. Gore is the company's largest individual shareholder with an estimated 8% stake, according to Forbes.

Raymond Ackerman

  • Net worth: R6.9 billion
  • Age: 85
  • Industry: Retail
  • Source of wealth: Self-made

In 1966, at 35, Raymond Ackerman was fired from his position as a Managing Director at Checkers.

He used his severance pay to acquire four retail outlets that were trading as Pick n Pay. Under his management, Pick n Pay grew into 794 stores around Southern Africa, Mauritius and Australia.

Ackerman stepped down as Executive Chairman in 2010, handing over the reins to his son, Gareth. He continues to be a dedicated philanthropist through the Ackerman Family Educational Trust; he supports about 60 students through university.

Michiel Le Roux

  • Net worth: R7.2 billion
  • Age: 67
  • Industry: Banking
  • Source of wealth: Self-made

Michiel Le Roux founded Capitec Bank, and still serves as the bank's chairman. Today, his bank has expanded to 668 branches, 6.2 million clients and over 10 000 employees.

While working for Boland Bank, Le Roux already started to shake things up. "We tried new things and different things, and it gave us a lot of exposure to ideas that later would get traction," says Le Roux.

Capitec Bank came about because friends of Le Roux invited him to a conference about micro-lending, he was initially not interested at all, but at the conference he realised "it would be a very interesting gap in the market to create a bank to provide specifically for people that needed micro-loans and better banking tailored for their needs." And the rest they say is history.

Lauritz Dippenaar

  • Net worth: R8.5 billion
  • Age: 67
  • Industry: Banking and insurance
  • Source of wealth: Self-made

Lauritz Dippenaar is a qualified chartered accountant who built a financial services empire over the last few decades.

His journey to wealth started when he co-founded Rand Consolidated Investing with GT Ferreira and Paul Harris in 1977.

After several years, along with mergers and acquisitions, FirstRand was formed in the 1990's. Dippenaar is a non-executive chairman of FirstRand, which is active in banking and insurance and is active in South Africa, five other neighbouring countries and India.

Jannie Mouton

  • Net worth: R13.6 billion
  • Age: 70
  • Industry: Banking
  • Source of wealth: Self-made

Jannie Mouton is the founder and chairman of PSG Group, a listed investment holding firm.

PSG has interests in financial services, banking, private equity, agriculture and education, according to Forbes.

Both of his sons sit on PSG Group's board, and his son Piet Mouton is now CEO. The 2011 book, "And Then They Fired Me," details how Mouton started PSG Group after getting fired at age 48.

Stephen Saad

  • Net worth: R16.32 billion
  • Age: 52
  • Industry: Pharmaceuticals
  • Source of wealth: Self-made

In 1997, Stephen Saad founded South Africa's largest pharmaceuticals maker, Aspen Pharmacare, which he runs as CEO. Aspen markets generic medicines in 10 countries.

According to Forbes, Saad become a millionaire at 29 when he sold his shares in a drug business, Coven Zurich, for USD3 million.

In 2012, he became the chairman of The Sharks rugby team. In October 2016, Saad won the Entrepreneur of the Year award at the All Africa Business Leaders Awards gala.

Patrice Motsepe

  • Net worth: R24.48 billion
  • Age: 55
  • Industry: Mining
  • Source of wealth: Self-made

Founder and chairman of African Rainbow Minerals, Patrice Motsepe, also launched a new private equity firm focused on investing in Africa, Africa Rainbow Capital. Motsepe also has a stake in Sanlam, and is the president and owner of the Mamelodi Sundowns Football Club.

He was the first black partner at law firm Bowman Gilfillan, and then started a contracting business doing mine scut work. Forbes says that in 1994, he bought low-producing gold mine shafts and turned them profitable.

In 2013, the mining magnate was the first African to sign Bill Gates' and Warren Buffett's Giving Pledge, in which he promises to give at least half of his fortune to charity.

Allan Gray

  • Net worth: R24.48 billion
  • Age: 79
  • Industry: Money management
  • Source of wealth: Self-made

Allan Gray founded his Cape Town-based investment management firm Allan Gray Limited in 1973.

It's the largest privately-owed asset manager in South Africa, overseeing USD35 billion in assets. He also founded asset manager, Orbis Investment Management, which manages USD30 billion in assets.

In 2015, Gray announced that he will eventually donate the bulk of his wealth to charity. According to a letter to his shareholders, Gray has transferred control of Allan Gray Limited and Orbis to the Allan & Gill Gray Foundation where dividends will be used for charity.

Koos Bekker

  • Net worth: R28.56 billion
  • Age: 64
  • Industry: Media, Investments
  • Source of wealth: Self-made

Koos Bekker is revered as an astute executive who transformed newspaper publisher Naspers into a digital media powerhouse, says Forbes.

During his tenure as CEO, which began in 1997, Bekker oversaw a rise in market capitalisation of Naspers from USD600 million to USD 45 billion, while drawing no salary, bonus or benefits.

He was compensated for his work with stock option grants that vested over time. In 2015, he sold more than 70% of his Naspers shares.

Ivan Glasenberg

  • Net worth: R65.28 billion
  • Age: 60
  • Industry: Commodity Trading
  • Source of wealth: Self-made

Ivan Glasenberg holds the largest private stake in Glencore (8.4%), the world's biggest commodity trader.

He started out by earning his MBA from the University of Southern California in 1983. He got his professional start with the legendary oil trader Marc Rich, working as a marketer.

By the time, management bought it out and re-branded it as Glencore in 1994, Glasenberg had risen to the post of worldwide director. His net worth sky-rocketed when Glencore went public in 2011.

Christoffel Wiese

  • Net worth: R76.16 billion
  • Age: 75
  • Industry: Retail
  • Source of wealth: Self-made

Christoffel Wiese built a retail empire by capitalising on bargain prices, and has expanded its geographic footprint.

In August 2016, Wiese's furniture and home goods retailer Steinhoff entered the U.S. market, and bought Mattress Firm Holding Corp., for USD 2.4 billion, according to Forbes.

His other investments include 15% of Shoprite Holdings, which has supermarkets, furniture stores and fast food outlets in 15 countries across Africa and the Indian Ocean Islands, as well as stakes in private equity firm Brait, industrial products company Invicta Holdings and mining-sector investor Pallinghurst, says Forbes.

Johann Rupert

  • Net worth: R82.96 billion
  • Age: 67
  • Industry: Retail
  • Source of wealth: Inherited

Johann Rupert is the chairman of Swiss luxury goods firm Compagnie Financiere Richemont. This firm is best known for brands including Cartier and Montblanc.

The company was originally formed in 1998 by spinning off international assets owned by Rembrandt Group Limited (now Remgro Limited), a South Africa company his father Anton founded in the 1940's as a tobacco manufacturer.

Rupert now owns a 7% stake in diversified investment firm Remgro, which he also chairs. He own 25% of Reinet, an investment holding company based in Luxembourg that has a stake in British American Tobacco, says Forbes.

Nicky Oppenheimer

  • Net worth: R95.2 billion
  • Age: 72
  • Industry: Diamonds
  • Source of wealth: Inherited

Nicky Oppenheimer, arguably the world's most successful diamond purveyor, inherited his fortune from his grandfather who founded Anglo American.

In 2012, he sold his 40% stake in DeBeers to Anglo American for USD5.1 billion in cash.

Anglo American now controls 85% of De Beers. He served on Anglo American's board for 37 years until 2011, and retains an estimated 1% stake in the company according to Forbes.

Nicole Crampton

Entrepreneur Staff

Sales Enablement - Content Developer

Nicole Crampton is an SEO specialist who contributes to She has studied a BA Journalism at Monash South Africa and has continued her studies with a Creative Writing degree from UNISA. Nicole has completed several courses in writing and online marketing, and continues to hone her skills and expertise in digital media, digital marketing and content creation.


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