A real-time list of the world’s dollar billionaires by Forbes shows that seven are from South Africa as we enter the new year, with Christo Wiese having lost his billionaire status in December following the fallout of a massive scandal that has seen retail entity Steinhoff’s share price disintegrate over the past month.
Steinhoff International’s chairman and largest shareholder with 23%, Wiese, stepped down from the supervisory board of the group after an accounting scandal engulfed the retail giant in December.
Nicky Oppenheimer maintains his position as the country’s richest man, sitting just outside the global top 200, with Wiese having seen his fortune dwindle from approximately $6 billion at the start of 2017, to well below the billion dollar figure by the start of January.
Back on the list are Allan Gray and mining magnate Desmond Sacco, while not included is Natie Kirsh, who features on Bloomberg’s list, with a fortune of $6.39 billion. Bloomberg has Johann Rupert as the country’s richest person, and 196th in the world with a fortune of $8.10 billion, with Nicky Oppenheimer second ($7.18 billion).
Kirsh is a South African-born Swazi billionaire businessman, with property spanning Australia, Swaziland, and the UK.
The strength of the South African rand – up 17% in 2017 – would have in many cases, helped to boost the fortunes of the country’s ultra-wealthy individuals.