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Mon Dec 05 18:35:43 SAST 2016

Number of SA's fat cats on the decline

SUTHENTIRA GOVENDER | 2016-10-19 07:21:23.0
A file photo of the Johannesburg skyline.
Image by: Gallo Images/ Thinkstock

There may be thousands of people who can still splurge on Louis Vuitton and luxury German cars, but the number of South African fat cats is on the decline.

Wealth intelligence company New World Wealth, which turned the spotlight on South Africa in its latest wealthiest city in the world report, said that, like the economy, the number of dollar millionaires and billionaires was dwindling.

Released yesterday the report showed that there were 40400 dollar millionaires and seven dollar billionaires whose combined wealth was about R8-trillion - seven times the national budget.

The City of Gold continued to be the headquarters of South Africa's tycoons - home to 17600 millionaires and two billionaires, with an estimated combined worth of R3-trillion. The figure dropped from 23400 millionaires recorded last year.

Durban remained the poor cousin with 2700 millionaires and one billionaire, with an estimated worth of about R630-billion.

The number of millionaires who live and play in Cape Town dropped from 8900 last year to 7400 this year.

The report showed that Stellenbosch, Franschhoek and the Garden Route - which boasts the retirees' money brigade - were areas of emerging growth.

Some of the wealthiest South Africans - according to Forbes 2015 Africa's 50 Richest list - include Nicky Oppenheimer ($6.6-billion); Christoffel Wiese ($6.5-billion); Johann Rupert ($6.3-billion); Koos Bekker ($1.7-billion); Stephen Saad ($1.2-billion) and Patrice Motsepe ($1.05-billion).

Andrew Amoils, head researcher at New World Wealth, said: "Johannesburg has a well-diversified economy and is strong in a large number of key sectors."

Economist Dawie Roodt said the city was rich in industrialists.

"Joburg is the industrial hub of the country; there are plenty of industrialists and with them comes the wealth."

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Roodt said wealthy industrialists usually retired in Cape Town.

"Probably some international money also ends up in Cape Town because it is a nice place to stay.

"It's also an asset managers' hub," Roodt said.

He attributed Durban's wealth - $45-billion with 2700 millionaires and one billionaire - to the city being an import and export hub.

Emerging areas of wealth included Paarl, Franschhoek and Stellenbosch - with 2500 millionaires and a total wealth of $40-billion.

"High-end agriculture takes place here, such as the wine farms. Stellenbosch is mainly home to the Afrikaner wealthy," Roodt said.

Mike Schussler, director of Economists Dotcoza, said: "The numbers are shocking. It makes up nearly half a percent of the world's economy, yet we don't have the wealthy people to show for it. While 40400 millionaires may seem like a lot, it's only 0.3% of the world's total millionaires.

"We are not focusing on creating wealth. We are focused on spreading the wealth," Schussler said.

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