According to research conducted by New World Wealth, South Africa is home to 14 700 US-dollar millionaires from previously disadvantaged backgrounds, representing around 31% of the country’s super wealthy.

“This is a relatively low percentage considering that these groups (black, coloured, Indian and Asian) make up 90% of the national population. However, it should be noted that their volumes have risen strongly over the review period, particularly the Indian/Asian category,” says New World Wealth Head of Research Andrew Amoils.

While the report highlights the grossly skewed distribution of wealth in the country, what is encouraging is the strong growth in the number of wealthy Indians and Asians in SA, which grew by 172% between 2007 and 2014 to 9800, while the number of black dollar millionaires grew by 113% to 4900 over the same period.

In contrast while white people own 69% of high net worth wealth, the number of white dollar millionaires in the country has declined by 13% to 32 100 individuals. This can be attributed to the large-scale immigration of white South Africans to first world countries.

Where the super rich live

Johannesburg, the economic hub of Africa, is home to around 50% of the country’s uber wealthy, most of whom reside in the suburbs of Sandhurst, Hyde Park, Bryanston, Houghton and Westcliff.

Around 19% of these people live in the Cape Town suburbs of Camps Bay, Bishopscourt, Constantia, Tokai, Clifton, Bantry Bay and Fresnaye, while 6% reside in Durban.

The rest live in towns such as Knysna, Plettenberg Bay, Stellenbosch, Franschoek and Hermanus.

What the wealthy do

Most of the country’s super rich (20%) have made their fortunes in the financial services sector, while 16% have amassed wealth on the back of the real estate and construction sector.

The majority of Joburg’s wealthy are involved in financial services, basic materials (mining and agriculture) and construction, while the major industries promoting wealth creation in Durban are pharmaceuticals, construction and transport.

Multi-millionaires in the Mother City typically work in real estate, financial services, retail and tourism.

The fastest growing sectors for multi-millionaires in the country over the review period were telecommunications, insurance and healthcare services. Forecasts indicate that these industries are likely to be replaced by media and healthcare as the fastest growing sectors for multi-million-rand wealth creation.