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Fri May 27 06:37:13 SAST 2016

The five richest black South Africans - and their politics

Bruce Gorton | 02 October, 2014 10:28

Image by: Siphiwe Sibeko / Reuters

ANC secretary general Gwede Mantashe claims that South Africans assume that if a black person makes it, they are either corrupt or linked to the ANC.

We have taken a look at the five richest black South Africans, in order to see if there is anything to this perception.

As of January this year, these are the richest black South Africans.

Patrice Motsepe - $2.6 billion


Patrice Motsepe of African Rainbow Minerals is a schoolteacher turned businessman. Starting with a modest spaza shop popular with mineworkers, he has become South Africa's first billionaire.

He earned a bachelor of the arts from the University of Swaziland, and a law degree from the University of the Witwatersrand.

He became the first black partner with the law firm Bowman Gilfillan in 1994.

In 2012 African Rainbow Minerals was the ANC's largest benefactor at Mangaung.

In December of 2013, City Press reported that he bid R400 000 for a photograph of the ANC NEC top six members taken at the Mangaung Elective Conference, and another  R700,000 for a picture of Nelson Mandela framed along with coins minted depicting the faces of past ANC presidents.

Cyril Ramaphosa - $550 million


Cyril Ramaphosa made his fortune mostly through the Shanduka group, though he is also the chairman of Bidvest and MTN, while being a non-executive director in Macsteel Holdings, Alexander Forbes and Standard Bank.

In terms of politics, he is the deputy president of the ANC and the country. He isn't exactly a DA supporter.

Mosima Gabriel "Tokyo" Sexwale - $200 million


Sexwale earned his nickname through his love of karate.

A major player in the diamond industry, Sexwale has been praised by no less than Harry Oppenheimer for having an understanding of the industry few can match.

Which is to say the Mvelaphanda Group is the third largest company in the diamond sector after De Beers and the JFPI Corporation.

He isn't just a noted businessman however, but also a major mover within the ANC. He even ran for ANC president in 2007, and was named Minister of Human Settlements by President Jacob Zuma in 2009.

Sipho Nkosi -  $163 million


Nkosi founded Eyesizwe Coal in 1998, and then went on to do the deals that would eventually land him as the fourth richest black man in South Africa, and the CEO of Exxaro Coal.

Nkosi tends to avoid headlines, and thus is it very difficult to say just exactly what party he supports - though he was the president of the SA Chamber of Mines up until 2012.

Phuthuma Nhleko - $142 million 

The former CEO of MTN group, Nhleko is also noted for being the chairman of Worldwide African Investment Holdings, a company that has interests in the petroleum, telecommunications and information technology industries.

According to BDLIVE, Nhleko was central to the Turkecell corruption scandal, in which a KPMG report found that the company had lavished gifts on Iranian politicians when it was bidding for the licence.

MTN's internal Hoffmann inquiry later cleared the company of any wrongdoing.

While miningmx reported in May that his company, the Pembani Group, will be tying the knot with Ramaphosa's Shanduka, there isn't much available online to indicate Nhleko's personal politics beyond that.

In summary

Out of South Africa's five richest black people, the three richest have very definite ties to the ANC. Two are more circumspect about their political affiliation, and we can't claim anything beyond the fact that they're rich.


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