Patrice Motsepe becomes the third richest billionaire in South Africa


The owner of African Rainbow Capital is the only South African to climb the ranks this year.

The Hurun Global Rich List 2021, which measures the US dollar wealth of billionaires, said 59-year-old Patrice Motsepe is the only South Africa mogul to climb up the rankings this year. 

Patrice, the founder of 100 percent black-owned financial services and investment company Africa Rainbow Capital, overtook Koos Bekker to become the country’s third-richest man, with a net worth of $3 billion (R44.9-billion). 

Patrice also owns a stake in financial services firm Sanlam and is the president and owner of the Mamelodi Sundowns Football Club. In 1994, he became the first black partner at law firm Bowman Gilfillan in Johannesburg and later started a contracting business, which focused on doing mine scut work. In 1997, he bought low-producing gold mine shafts and later turned them into profitable concerns.

Nicky Oppenheimer, 76, the third generation of diamond mining dynasty De Beers and The Diamond Trading Company, remains South Africa’s number one billionaire and third richest man in Africa, with a fortune of $8 billion (R119.7 billion). Swiss luxury Group Richemont chairman Johann Rupert remains the second richest man in the country. There are 18 billionaires on the African continent, worth $73.8 billion (R1.1 trillion) altogether. 

E-commerce colossus, Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos, ranks at number one on the global list with $189 billion (R2.8 trillion), 

South African-born Elon Musk, who had a fortune of $197 billion (R2.9 trillion) last year, dropped to number two after he lost $13.5 billion in January when shares in Tesla tumbled.  He was the youngest person to take the title of the ‘Richest Person in the World’ at 49. The bulk of his wealth is from his 21 percent share of Tesla and 52 percent share in SpaceX. He added $13 billion (R194 billion) in value in the past year, after becoming the first private company to put people into orbit, an achievement previously claimed by just three global superpowers. Last month he announced a $1.5 billion (R22.4 billion) investment from Tesla into Bitcoin. 

French businessman and art collector Bernard Arnault dropped to number three with $114 billion (R1.7 trillion).

Hurun Report chairman and chief researcher Rupert Hoogewerf said, “The first two months of the outbreak wiped out massive amounts of wealth, the second two months saw a V-shaped recovery and since June, the new economy, led by digital, has boomed to record heights.” Electric vehicles, e-commerce, blockchain, and biotech have been the fastest growing industries of the past year. There have been 17 new crypto billionaires with a cumulative wealth of $77 billion (R1.1 trillion) in the past year. They derive their wealth from holding currency tokens and running crypto exchanges, and providing tech capabilities to support the ecosystem.

There are now 3,228 billionaires in the world, 414 more than last year. The 2020 Covid-19 pandemic brought the global economy to a standstill when countries shut their borders and operations to contain the spread of the virus. But despite the restrictions, the world produced eight billionaires every week, creating the largest growth in wealth in history. 

China produced the most billionaires, with 259 more than last year. “The country now has 1058 resident billionaires with an amassed fortune of $4.5 trillion (R67.3 trillion), up 73 percent on last year,” said Rupert. “Asia has, for the first time in perhaps hundreds of years, more billionaires than the rest of the world combined. Wealth creation is moving to Asia.”

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