Jews make up 26,4 per cent of SA's wealthiest

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No fewer than 47 of the wealthiest 250 South Africans, measured by the value of listed shares they hold, are Jewish. This is according to the Sunday Times’ annual “Rich List” which was published on December 11. Jews represent at least 26,4 per cent of those on the list, up from 21 per cent in 2015. Three of the top 25 income-earners working at listed companies are also Jewish. Read the full story...
by ANT KATZ | Dec 12, 2016
Although the Rich List does not include everyone who could be on this list or the full extent of their wealth, this is still a most sizeable representation given that SA Jewry represents just 0,014 per cent of the total South African population.

Also, many of South Africa’s wealthiest Jews control privately owned companies or earn income from overseas holdings; or are privately invested in property.

Historically, old-established Jewish family wealth, such as that of the likes of the Samsons, Lubners, Kaplans, and others, are not reflected in the Rich List survey, because they are privately held and the Rich List records the wealth as the value of shares held in listed entities on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange.

Donald Gordon, founder of Liberty Life and his daughter Wendy Appelbaum 
are not on the list, although his sons Graeme and Richard appear. Last year, respected US financial publication, Forbes, called Wendy the “wealthiest woman and biggest female philanthropist in Africa”.

9a-Brian JoffeThe Jews on the Rich List are largely self-made, not simply languishing in hereditary wealth.

RIGHT: In 2015, Bidvest’s Brian Joffe was ranked as the highest-earning member of the Jewish community (listed company) – at number 26 for having earned R13,77 million. He has since retired as CEO of Bidvest but appears on the 2016 Wealth Rich List at number 61, with his 24,25 per cent holding of enX Group (listed 2014) being valued at R796 million.

One of the reasons for the rapid rise in the percentage of Jewish entrepreneurs on the 2016 Rich List is the fact that several of the privately-held businesses have listed over the past two years.

In August, for example, Dis-Chem’s JSE listing saw founders Ivan and Lynette Saltzman’s company's stock rise to such a high price that the company has brought five Jews and two non-Jewish executives into the 2016 Rich List.  Saltzman himself entered the list as the second-highest-ranked Jew and at number 12 overall – with his 53 per cent of Dis-Chem valued at close to R10 billion.


LEFT: Ivan and Lynette Saltzman were probably the first people to take a ram's horn into the august Johannesburg Stock Exchange, and certainly the first to blow it!

The wealthiest Jewish entrepreneur on the list this year – Ivan Glasenberg of Glencore - came in at number two overall with listed assets of R60 billion.

At number one was Christo Wiese. Glasenberg held the second place in 2015 as well, but with a net worth of his 8,3 per cent of Glencore at R25 billion. In 2014, however, it had been worth R61,4 billion. This is a clear indicator of the volatility of resources on world markets over recent times.

Adrian Gore, the founder and CEO of Discovery, dropped from 12th place in 2015 to 15th place this year. His shares, which were worth R2,1 billion in 2011, climbed to a whopping R7,2 billion in 2015 – and dropped to R5,5 billion this year.

For the full details of who, what, where and when: see the 2016 Rich List on the Sunday Times.

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