Business / Business News

Ina Opperman
Business Journalist
2 minute read
7 Apr 2021
11:23 am

Oppenheimer, Rupert lead the SA pack as rich keep getting richer

Ina Opperman

According to Forbes’ annual Billionaires List for 2021, which tracks the wealth of the world’s super-rich over the past year, five billionaires from South Africa also got richer during the pandemic.

File picture. Nicholas 'Nicky' Oppenheimer during an interview on March 23, 2017 in Johannesburg, South Africa. Picture: Gallo Images/Sunday Times/Moeletsi Mabe

The rich are getting richer and they have the figures to prove it.

The pandemic has not been as devastating to the super-rich as it was for the middle class and the poor globally, including South Africa.

According to the newest Forbes World’s Billionaires List, the super-rich seems to have made up what they lost during the pandemic and some even increased their wealth.

South Africa’s richest

Local billionaires Patrice Motsepe, Johann Rupert, Koos Bekker and Nicky Oppenheimer made the list last year, while Michiel le Roux, cofounder of Capitec, is back on after he dropped last year due to the global market crash in April 2020.

ALSO READ: Motsepe and Rupert make Forbes’ 2020 billionaires list … which has shrunk

Motsepe, Rupert, Bekker and Oppenheimer together lost $2 billion, but just one year later they have increased their combined net worth to $3.6 billion.

Oppenheimer is still the richest man in South Africa, with a net worth of $8 billion, $600 million more than the $7.4 billion reported in 2020 and higher than the $7.6 billion reported before the pandemic.

Second on the list for South Africa is Rupert, who reported the biggest initial loss of $1 billion last year. Before the pandemic, his wealth was $5.6 billion, but in nominal terms he increased his wealth the most by adding $2.5 billion to the $4.6 billion reported in 2020 for a total of $7.1 billion.

ALSO READ: Billionaires have recouped Covid-19 losses, Oxfam reports reveals

Bekker is next in line with $3 billion after adding $1 billion to his wealth, followed by Motsepe on $2.9 billion.

Although Motsepe is slightly behind Bekker, his wealth grew the most last year, more than doubling by +107% to $2.9 billion, from $1.4 billion in 2020.

World’s richest

Jeff Bezos is again the richest man in the world for the fourth consecutive year with $177 billion (up 56.6%), followed by Elon Musk with $151 billion (up 513.8%).

Bernard Arnault ($150.0 billion) is third, followed by Bill Gates ($124.0 billion), Mark Zuckerberg ($97 billion), Warren Buffet ($96 billion), Larry Ellison ($93 billion), Larry Page ($91.5 billion), Sergey Brin ($89.0 billion) and Mukesh Ambani ($84.5 billion).

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According to the Forbes list of 2 755 dollar billionaires, 493 were on the list for the first time, while 250 who lost their places due to the initial crash in April 2020, were back on.

The billionaires on the list had a combined worth of $8 trillion in 2020 and is now worth $13.1 trillion, after an unbelievable increase of $5.1 trillion.

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