SA wealth report; SA female board representation up; survival secrets of dogs, humans; JSE, Rand

By Jackie Cameron

  • How many wealthy people are there in South Africa? A new report suggests that there are just over 2,000 individuals with net assets of $10m (R150m) and more and just under 40 000 South Africans with net assets of about $1m (R15m) or more. But, the South Africa Wealth Report also suggests that the wealthiest haven’t increased their wealth exponentially over the past decade. Instead, total private wealth held by people living in South Africa rose by about 13%. The report’s authors say that the improvement in wealth was helped by the performance of the JSE, which was up about 42% over 10 years, and it suggests that employees who work for professional services firms – so lawyers, accountants and management consultants – have enjoyed a wealth increase. On the negative side, keeping a lid on the growth of private wealth has been that the rand has depreciated significantly over 10 years – it was trading at about R9.30 to the US greenback in 2009 and was at R14.40 by the end of 2018. The property market has also been disappointing, with prices down in US dollar terms by about 5% over this period. It singles out Umhlanga as the country’s best performing luxury property sector over the past 10 years, saying this is perhaps because the Cape Town drought deterred investors in recent years. The report also notes that there has been an “ongoing migration of wealthy people out of the country” over the past decade. Although the past decade was disappointing, the reports authors expect the next decade to be better. They forecast growth in wealth of 30%, citing the fast growth of the JSE and a well-developed wealth management sector among the reasons for this optimistic forecast. Most of South Africa’s wealthiest live in Johannesburg, Cape Town and Durban, with an estimated 17,000 HNWIs in Joburg and about 7,000 in Cape Town. For more on that Afrasia report, visit
  • In his weekly newsletter to citizens, President Cyril Ramaphosa lambasted business for failing to hire enough senior black executives, but when it comes to improving female board representation South Africa is right up there with countries that have performed best. Bloomberg reports that female board representation’s surprising champion is Africa – and it singles out South Africa as among one of the few countries in the world making headway in increasing the proportion of females on company boards. In Africa, one in four board members are female. That’s better than second-placed Europe at 23% and well ahead of global laggard Latin America at 7%, said Bloomberg, citing McKinsey Global Institute research. The world average for female representation on boards is 17%, says the report.
  • Zimbabwe’s mining industry has appealed to the government for help, saying output is declining fast as the state-owned power company fails to honour electricity-supply contracts, reports Bloomberg. Zesa Holdings. has broken its promise to “ring-fence” supplies to miners, Zimbabwe’s Chamber of Mines wrote in a letter last week to Finance Minister Mthuli Ncube. With some companies lacking power for three days a week, mineral production will fall by as much as 30% this year, it said, according to Bloomberg.
  • Where do dogs come from? What is their relationship to wolves? Where do Homo sapiens come from? What is our relationship to other human species such as Neanderthals, Denisovans and Homo erectus? The secret is Survival of the Friendliest. Bloomberg reports that New research suggests that these diverse questions have a single answer. In brief: Dogs are far less likely than wolves to respond to challenges with violence (or by running away). Or, in more technical terms, they show low levels of “reactive aggression” in social interactions, says Bloomberg. As compared to extinct human species, Homo sapiens show precisely the same thing. As a result, we – you and I – are uniquely capable of trust and cooperation. That’s the basis of our evolutionary triumph, continues Bloomberg. Some of the key research has been done by anthropologist Brian Hare of Duke University, who gives this process a name: Survival of the Friendliest.
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