Corona crash: SA loses a dollar billionaire, Rupert and Oppenheimer suffer_1

The devastating financial impact of the coronavirus has caused a major meltdown in stocks and savings. As we all face a looming global recession, even South Africa’s richest citizens are dramatically feeling this pinch. This week, one of our dollar billionaires lost his prestigious status, as Johann Rupert and Nicky Oppenheimer – the two wealthiest people in Mzansi – were also left glum-faced.

How many dollar billionaires are in South Africa? Well, one less now


The deeper the pockets, the bigger the hits. The JSE has taken a pounding and big businesses are fearing the worst. President Cyril Ramaphosa has warned of a difficult few months for industries that were already blighted by load shedding and slow growth. Coronavirus, if nothing else, is a rude timekeeper.


Capitec founder Michiel le Roux – who started the month with a net worth of $1.1 billion (over R15 billion) – has been relegated from the 10-figure club. According to Forbes, his personal wealth declined by over 10% after the coronavirus outbreak sunk its teeth into the market. Capitec’s share price has also dropped by 25% since mid-February.

How coronavirus has shocked South Africa’s wealthiest citizens


This means that there are just four dollar billionaires left in South Africa: Nicky Oppenheimer, Johann Rupert, Koos Bekker and Patrice Motsepe. Of course, the numbers are tracked on a daily basis – so this data remains extremely volatile – but it’s unlikely we’ll be adding a fifth back to the coveted list while coronavirus remains rampant. Here’s how the elite have been made to suffer:

Nicky Oppenheimer: His losses aren’t too bad, and remain the smallest out of his fellow dollar-billionaires. However, Forbes estimate he’s had over $100 million knocked off of his now-$7.5bn fortune.Johann Rupert: He’s down by about $1bn in the last week, making him worth less than $5bn. This time last year, Rupert had a net worth of more than $7bn. Yikes, that’s what coronavirus can do…Koos Bekker: The broadcasting mogul has consolidated his spot as South Africa’s third-richest person. That’s some going, considering he’s lost an estimated $300m since last Monday.Patrice Motsepe: In the past week, about 20% of his entire wealth was wiped out. Motsepe still has about $1.5bn in the bank, though.