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Number of millionaires in South Africa skyrocketed

Staff writer |
The number of dollar millionaires in South Africa increased to 7,800 in 2012 from 4,300 in 2007, although the rand has fallen about 25% to the dollar during that period, a survey has found.

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About 16% of South Africa's 48,700 millionaires are black, Indian, coloured or Chinese, according to research by consultancy New World Wealth. However, whites still dominate the list with 36,500 white males and 4,400 white females.

Based on South Africa's millionaire growth trends over the past 10 years, it will take 25 years to reach parity between black and white dollar millionaires in South Africa, said Andrew Amoils, senior analyst at New World Wealth.

The research will fuel the debate about how effective black empowerment laws have been in distributing wealth among previously disadvantaged groups.

Mr. Amoils said that previously disadvantaged millionaires made up a relatively small proportion of the ultrawealthy, considering this group made up 90% of the national population. "But previously disadvantaged millionaire volumes have risen by a strong 81% from 2007-13, which is well above the overall rate of 14% for all millionaires."

To qualify as a millionaire for the study, individuals had to have net assets of $1 million or more, excluding their primary residence.

New World Wealth maintains a database of South Africa's high net worth individuals based on company and director databases, private jet, yacht and property sales, and income distribution trends from the World Bank. It sells its research to the private banking industry, particularly international banks entering African markets, as well as the luxury goods industry and gold traders.

Patrice Motsepe of African Rainbow Minerals is ranked first with $2.6 billion in wealth made from, among others, mining interests. He is followed by Cyril Ramaphosa of Shanduka Group with $550 million and Tokyo Sexwale of Mvelaphanda Group in third place with $200 million. Both men have been major beneficiaries of black economic empowerment (BEE) deals.

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