Top 10 Richest Politicians in South Africa and How They Made Their Money

Top 10 Richest Politicians in South Africa and How They Made Their Money

South Africa doesn’t have a shortage of wealthy politicians (and, some fatten up their bank accounts by doing deals under the table). But, there are a handful of comrades who have made millions throughout their political careers and multi-million-rand companies.

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Briefly News decided to take a look at the cream of the crop - the politicians who have the highest nett worths. So, here is a list of the top 10 richest politicians in the country and what they did to get here.

1. Cyril Ramaphosa

President Cyril Ramaphosa is the highest paid politician at the moment, with an annual salary of $265 020, which is about R4.2 million, according to Buzz South Africa.

R4.2m/year is the salary put aside for the highest political office in the country. But, that’s not why President Ramaphosa tops this list. Cyril Ramaphosa was a millionaire long before his election at the head of state.

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In 1999, Ramaphosa lost the ANC presidency election to Thabo Mbeki and he quit the ruling party to venture into the business sector. Cyril Ramaphosa has achieved success not only in politics but in his businesses as well.

The SA head is worth an estimated R6.4 billion ($450 million) as of 2018. He made his impressive nett worth through properties and previous ownership in companies, including McDonald’s and businesses he founded.

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In 2001, Ramaphosa launched the Shanduka Group, a leading black-owned investment company that had shareholding in the likes of MTN, Coca-Cola, Standard Bank, Alexander Forbes, to name only a few. Ramaphosa took a step back from the private sector after he was elected deputy president by Jacob Zuma.

2. Tokyo Sexwale

Tokyo Sexwale, also known as Mosima Gabriel, is a popular South African who is an anti-apartheid activist, a politician, and a successful entrepreneur in the mining industry. After 1998, Sexwale disappeared from politics to focus on his businesses. He has since built himself an empire worth billions and is said to be personally worth about $200 million - which is about R3.1 billion.

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3. Herman Mashaba

Herman Mashaba is one of the most well-known politicians in the country who started his own political party. He is also one of the richest politicians and businessmen in Msansi and his success story is particularly inspiring.

Herman Mashaba became a millionaire before the end of apartheid, making him one of only a few black businessmen who could achieve riches under an oppressive rule.

Mashaba started selling African hair-care products at a company called SuperKurl, and he soon became their best-selling employee. However, he was not satisfied by only being an employee and he decided to start his own business.

In 1985, Mashaba borrowed R30 000 from businessman Walter Dube, who was his friend. He used the money to start Black Like Me. According to News24, before starting his own company, Mashaba sold products out of the boot of his car.

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He managed to build lucrative businesses and experienced success as a politician, all of which contributed to Mashaba’s $100 million (R1.6 billion) nett worth.

4. F.W de Klerk

F.W de Klerk is most popularly known as the last president of the previous regime, but, he was also one of the richest politicians in South Africa up until his death recently.

De Klerk was born into a wealthy Afrikaner family and he ventured into law before trying his hand in politics. With the help of his family’s influence, De Klerk climbed the ranks in the minority ruling party and eventually was elected president of South Africa. However, he played a key role in the end of apartheid and was actively part in the negotiations that led to the first democratic elections.

He made a lot of his money through various businesses, including farming. As of 2021, De Klerk was said to be worth $46m or R735 million.

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5. Saki Macozoma

Briefly News previously reported Saki Macozoma mining career made him leave the Eastern Cape Province, which is his birthplace, and head to Northern Cape, which is home to 80% of the world's reserves of Manganese. Saki hit the ground with Tshipi Borwa mine to explore manganese mining.

He has investments worth $71 million, which is about R1.1 billion. However, the figures can be more significant because he holds stakes in private mining companies like Tshipi mine, among others.

He started his political career in the 70s and he headed some large companies, including Vodacom and South African Airways (SAA).

6. Jacob Zuma

Jacob Zuma is one of the most loved and hated politicians in the country, and his name has been tied to a number of scandals. Regardless of how he made his millions, Msholozi is one of Mzansi’s richest politicians with a nett worth of $20 million (R320 million).

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Zuma age makes him one of the older politicians in South Africa. What many may not know is that he began engaging in politics when he was just 17 years old when he joined ANC. He became part of the militant arm of the party when he joined Umkhonto we Sizwe in 1962 when the then government banned the party. In 1963, he joined the South African Communist party which saw him get Soviet training.

He later joined the ANC as the head of the intelligence department. In 1963, he was arrested together with other 45 ANC recruits and imprisoned for 10 years at Robben Island. He was together with President Nelson Mandela both of home were sentenced for life. While at the prison, he served as the referee of Makana FC, a football association in the prison. In 1987, he was forced to leave Mozambique when the government forced him out. He relocated to Lusaka Zambia, where the ANC headquarter was later moved to and Zuma appointed as head of underground structures.

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Ever since his teens years, Zuma has been actively participating in politics and it contributed largely to his wealth. But, he also made a lot of money through external businesses, and has a string of corruption cases against him that accuses uBaba of benefiting himself and his family.

7. Thabo Mbeki

Thabo Mbeki ranks amongst the top 10 richest politicians in South Africa. The former head of state generated his wealth over a lengthy and successful political career.

As of 2021, Thabo Mbeki is said to be worth around $11 million - which more or less R177.5 million depending on the exchange rate.

The majority of Thabo Mbeki’s nett worth comes from the various roles he filled in the ruling party. Even before the ANC came into rule, Mbeki played an integral part in generating support for the party, within the country and abroad.

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Becoming the deputy president and president of South Africa certainly helped fatten Mbeki’s bank account. AnswersAfrica reported Mbeki earned a whopping R3.9 million annually as the head of state and around R2.8 million as the deputy president.

Top 10 richest politicians in South Africa and how they made their moola
Thabo Mbeki meets with Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir (unseen) at the Presidential palace in Khartoum on August 3, 2015. Photo credit: EBRAHIM HAMID/AFP via Getty Images.
Source: Getty Images

8. Bulelani Ngcuka

Bulelani Ngcuka has had a successful career in politics, holding a senator position from 1994 to 1997, and acting as the National Director of Public Prosecutions from 1999 to 2004.

His successes led to Ngcuka becoming one of the richest people in South Africa., with an impressive nett worth of R160 million. However, Ngcuka’s personal victories are often overshadowed by his wife, Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, who became the first woman to be elected the deputy president of SA.

9. Mamphela Ramphele

Finally a woman joins this list. Mamphela Ramphele haw a nett worth of R87 million ($5.5m). Her political awakening was sparked early on when she witnessed a dispute between the people of the village of Kranspoort and a racist Afrikaner Church minister. She is a renowned and respected politician, as well as a medical doctor, a former activist against apartheid, a businesswoman, and an academic. In 2011, she was named among Africa’s Richest Women.

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10. Pravin Gordhan

There is no verifiable information posted by authorities like Forbes magazines as touching South Africa's Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan net worth. However, it is believed he is worth around R79.9 million ($5m).

Pravin generated his wealth through a successful political career and investing in businesses. An article published by SABC, reported that Pravin has well over 46 000 shares in more than 40 companies. Based on his Declaration of interests, he is said to have shares in different real estate property investment trusts, preference shares in Standard Bank, Nedbank, FNB and Absa. Others include shares in British American Tobacco Company, Remgro, Naspers, Steinhoff International and BHP Billiton.

Source: Briefly News

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