South African billionaires

Nine of the wealthiest South African families in 2021

Published by Michè Edwards

South Africa is a land filled with innovative business minds aggressively climbing up the successful billionaires’ ladder and making use of every opportunity they get. The chase for success has seen the wealthiest South African families become lead philanthropists and inventors of their time. 

Nine wealthiest South African families in 2021

They’ve carried decades of business in their families that create generations worth of wealth. 

We list the nine wealthiest South African families in 2021:

  1. The Rupert Family 
rupert vaccination
Photo: Sourced from Wikimedia Commons

Father-son duo, Anton and Johann Rupert both featured on the Forbes list of billionaires in their own eras. Anton started building his family’s legacy from selling cigarettes in his garage to building the tobacco and industrial compound. Johann sits as Chairman of Swiss luxury goods firm Compagnie Financiere Richemont. The family was ranked as the second-richest in South Africa on the 2020 Forbes list, with a fortune reported as US$5.4 billion. 

Networth:  R131 billion

Source of wealth: Luxury goods

  1. The Oppenheimer family
wealthiest South African families
Photo: Sourced from Wikimedia Commons

The infamous Oppenheimer’s are known as the billionaire family that made a fortune from mining and diamonds. It all started in 1917 when Sir Ernest Oppenheimer, a mining entrepreneur founded the Anglo-American Corporation of South Africa and became Chairman of the De Beers diamond company in 1929. His son Harry went on to lead both the Anglo-American Corporation and De Beers Consolidated Mines as Chairman. 

Networth: R109 billion 

Source of wealth: Diamonds and mining

  1. Motsepe Family & Associates 

Founder of African Rainbow Minerals, Patrice Motsepe, became a billionaire in 2008 as the first black African on the Forbes list. In 2020 Forbes also ranked Motsepe as the 1,307th wealthiest person in the world with a fortune of US$2.1 billion. His sister Bridget Radebe is also an affluent businesswoman and recognised as one of Africa’s first black female mine owners. 

Net worth:  R46.47 billion

Source of wealth: Mining

4. Douw Steyn and Family

wealthiest south african families
Photo: Sourced from Everipedia

Douw Steyn and his family remain the wealthiest people in the UK’s insurance industry. Steyn founded the BGL Group, a UK-based insurance and financial services company in 1992. In 2020 the Steyn Family pledged R320 millon to assist with Covid19 relief efforts in South Africa. 

Net worth: R16.74 billion

Source of wealth: Insurance

5. Manfred Gorvy and Family

a man smiling
Photo: Sourced from Hanover Acceptances Group

Manfred Gorvy founded Hanover Acceptances, a property and financial investment company based in London that. His wife Lydia R. Gorvy served on the Board of Directors of Hanover Acceptances since 1991. A lecture theatre at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London was renamed ‘The Lydia and Manfred Gorvy Lecture Theatre’ in honour of the couples great strides in their careers.

Net worth: R17. 72 billion

Source of wealth: Property and food

6. Sir Donald Gordon and Family

a smiling old man
Photo: Sourced from University of Pretoria

This family’s wealth has been built since the 1950’s. It started with founder of South African insurer Liberty Life, The late Sir Donald Gordon who was a South African-born insurance and shopping-mall tycoon. He was also behind the development of Sandton City, Africa’s most iconic shopping centre.

Networth: R11.6 billion

Source of wealth: Insurance and property

7. The Ackerman Family 

Photo: Sourced from @PicknPay / Twitter

Raymond Ackerman is a South African businessman known for purchasing the Pick ‘n Pay supermarket group from its founders. The big giant business is run as a family with Raymond’s wife Wendy and his four children, all at the forefront of the business in their eras. Both Wendy and Raymond have assisted in driving change, growth, vision and innovation within the african retail sector.

Net worth: R7 billion

Source of wealth: Retail

8. Tony Tabatznik and Family

Photo: Sourced from @IAmFrankButcher / Twitter

The Tabatznik family fortune is led by their involvement in the pharmaceutical industry. Tony Tabatznik ran his family’s business, Stevenage firm Arrow Generics, which specialises in sterile products and respiratory drugs. The family struck gold when he sold Arrow Generics for R25 billion to a US drug company in 2009.

Net worth: R9.3 billion

Source of wealth: Pharmaceuticals

9. Nathan Kirsh and Family

Most of Nathan Kirsh’s fortune comes from his 75% stakes in Jetro Holdings, which operates more than 100 cash-and-carry stores and restaurant depots in America. His son Philip Kirsh, a businessman himself paired up with his sister Linda Mirels to purchase four apartments in Trump Tower, New York with a combined value of $56 million. 

Net worth: R65.78 billion

Source of wealth: Cash and carry, property and investment