South Africa has over 11 billionaires. Patrice Motsepe is the first and only black billionaire. Here are the top 10 richest South Africans as of 2015, according to Forbes’ list of richest people in Africa.
10) GUS ATTRIDGE – $660 MILLION
Gus Attridge is Deputy CEO at Aspen Pharmacare, the largest pharmaceutical manufacturer in Africa. The company according to its own sources is the world’s fifth largest generic drug maker. Gus Attridge own a 4% stake in the South African firm, he co-founded with Aspen Pharmacare CEO Stephen Saad in 1997.
Aspen Pharmacare expanded its global influence with a couple of acquisitions in 2013 which led to revenue growth by 53% in the year through June 2014 to $2.7 billion (29.5 billion Rand). In October 2014, UK pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline, which owns nearly 19% of Aspen Pharmacare, purchased 25% of Aspen’s Japanese unit for an undisclosed price. Aspen manufactures drugs in factories around the world, including in Australia, Brazil, Mexico, Germany, South Africa and Tanzania.
9) DESMOND SACCO – $680 MILLION
Desmond Sacco dropped from the billionaires’ list, thanks to steep declines in his company – Assore Group’s stock price, the result of a marked drop in the price of Iron Ore which saw the net worth of the chairman and managing director of the South African mining company drop by half, from $1.4 billion in 2013. His 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 which produce Chrome, Manganese and Iron. Sacco has been the chairman of Assmang since 1999. A geologist, Sacco is a fellow at the Geological Society of South Africa and the Institute of Directors in Southern Africa. In his younger years, he was a avid cricket and hockey player at the University of South Africa.
8) LAURITZ DIPPENAAR – $730 MILLION
Laurie Dippenaar, a financial services billionaire who built a financial empire over several decades. In 1977, he with GT Ferreira and Paul Harris cofounded Rand Consolidated Investing. After a series of mergers and acquisitions, FirstRand was formed in the 1990s; Dippenaar is non-executive chairman of FirstRand, which is an active player in the banking and insurance industries.
7) ALLAN GRAY – $1.6 BILLION
Allan Gray is the founder of Cape Town-based investment management firm, Allan Gray Limited which he founded in 1973, after earning his MBA from Harvard and spending eight years at Fidelity in the US. The company manages $34 billion, making it the largest privately owned asset manager in South Africa. He also owns Orbis Investment Management in Bermuda which manages $30 billion.
6) STEPHEN SAAD – $2.1 BILLION
Stephen Saad is the founder of Aspen Pharmacare, the largest pharmaceutical Company in Africa. His worth rose by $400 million over the past year due to an upward movement in the drug maker’s stock price. Aspen Pharmacare expanded its global footprint with a handful of acquisitions in 2013; revenue grew by 53% in the year through June 2014 to $2.7 billion Dollars (29.5 billion Rand). Aspen Pharmacare sells generic medicines in 150 countries. Saad became a millionaire at age 29 after he sold his share in the drug business Covan Zurich for $3 million. He cofounded Aspen in 1997 and is chief executive and head of the board. 2012 saw Saad become chairman of The Sharks, a Durban Rugby team. He spends his free time at Exeter, his private game reserve at Sabi Sands, which is adjacent to the largest national park in South Africa – Kruger National Park.
5) PATRICE MOTSEPE – $2.1 BILLION
Patrice Motsepe – South Africa’s first and only black billionaire, founded African Rainbow Minerals, a firm that mines minerals such as iron, coal, manganese, copper, platinum and gold.
Motsepe is also a stakeholder in Sanlam, a listed financial services firm, and is the president and owner of Mamelodi Sundowns Football Club. He became the first black partner at the Bowman Gilfillan law firm in Johannesburg, and then started a contracting business doing mine scut work. In 1994, he bought low-producing gold mine shafts and turned around their fortunes leading to better productivity.
Motsepe benefitted from South Africa’s Black Economic Empowerment (BEE) laws, which mandates that companies be at least 26% black-owned in order to get a government mining license. He has pledged $1 million to help combat the Ebola epidemic in West Africa. The mining magnate is also the first African to sign Bill Gates’ and Warren Buffett’s Giving Pledge, in which he promised to give at least half his fortune away to charity.
4) KOOS BEKKER – $2.3 BILLION
Koos Bekker – South African media tycoon stepped down as CEO of media giant – Naspers in February 2014, his decision did not stop Naspers’ stock from rising to double digits. He had run the Cape Town-based company since 1997. Bekker intends to return as chairman of Naspers board in April 2015 according to a company statement. He transformed the publishing outfit into a new media powerhouse, with investments in China, India, Russia and elsewhere, including stakes in China’s leading Internet and instant messaging company: Tencent Holdings (run by Chinese billionaire Ma Huateng), Russian Internet giant – Mail.ru and Brazilian magazine publisher – Abril.
During his tenure, Johann Bekker engineered the rise in the market capitalization of Naspers from about $600 million to 45 billion dollars, while drawing no salary, bonuses, or benefits. He was compensated via stock option grants whose values increased over time. He was a founding director of African mobile telecoms firm – MTN. His nearly 600 acres Babylonstoren estate in South Africa’s Western Cape, feature architecture dating back to 1690: a farm, an orchard, a vineyard, a 14-room hotel and a restaurant.
3) CHISTOFFEL WIESE – $6.3 BILLION
Retail tycoon Christoffel Wiese continues to grow his wealth. In September 2014, he announced plans to swap his minority stake in information technology company – DigiCore for a stake in ConvergeNet, a South African Technology business that is undergoing restructuring into a diversified holding company.
Wiese’s other investments include 15% stake in Shoprite Holdings, which controls supermarkets, furniture stores and fast food outlets in 15 countries across Africa and the Indian Ocean Islands, and controlling interest in Pepkor, a private clothing and footwear giant with almost 32,000 employees. He also owns shares in private equity firm – Brait, industrial production company – Invicta Holdings and mining-sector investor – Pallinghurst.
He became 1.6 billion Dollars richer since 2013 as a result of higher stock prices for most of his holdings and the growth at Pepkor.
2) NICKY OPPENHEIMER – $6.7 BILLION
After cashing out of the diamond business, Nicky Oppenheimer is exploring opportunities in investing. His family ended its 85-year reign in diamond business – De Beers in 2012 when Nicky sold his 40% stake for $5.1 billion. A company founded by Nicky’s grandfather, now controls 85% of De Beers; with the remaining 15% under the control of the government of Botswana.
He served on the board of Anglo American for 37 years till 2011, and he still retains an estimated 1.8% stake in the company. Now, he’s turning to private equity through his company – E. Oppenheimer & Son, which controls investment arms Stockdale Street Capital and Tana Africa Capital, a joint venture with the Singaporean Government-owned investment firm Temasek.
1) JOHANN RUPERT – $7.4 BILLION
The richest man in South Africa. Johann Rupert – Luxury goods magnate is chairman of Compagnie Financiere Richemont.
Johann Rupert owns a 7% stake in Remgro, which he chairs, as well as 25% of Reinet, a Luxembourg based investment holding company that has a stake in British American Tobacco Company. He is also part-owner of the Saracens English Rugby team and Anthonij Rupert Wines, which was named after his deceased brother.
In recent times, Rupert has taken up the role of activist as he is a vocal opponent of plans to allow fracking in the Karoo, a semi-desert region of South Africa where he owns land. The Afrikaner worked for a time at Chase Manhattan Bank and Lazard Frères in New York before starting out on his own.