Last year, South Africa had more than 44 700 high net worth individuals, with a combined wealth of $188 billion (R1.6 trillion), according to data provider WealthInsight.
The group held 17.4 percent ($33bn) of their wealth outside South Africa, below the global average of about 30 percent for offshore wealth, the London-based wealth consultancy said.
The figures confirm that South Africa is one of the most unequal societies in the world.
High net worth individuals, which represent less than 0.1 percent of the country’s population, accounted for roughly 27 percent of South Africa’s total individual wealth of $740bn. Wealth includes equities, bonds, cash and deposits, fixed-income products, real estate, alternative assets and business interests.
People with assets worth more than $30 million are described as ultra high net worth individuals. Of these, 261 live in Joburg, 103 in Cape Town, 31 in Durban and 28 in Pretoria. - IOL, Business Report
I don't know about you, but these statistics have left me utterly bewildered. We simply cannot comprehend the numbers being used. It's easy to talk of "millions", "billions", "trillions" - but very seldom do we realise exactly how much those numbers represent. Not only that - but consider for a moment what these numbers are showing us: Somehow, every day each of us gets out of bed and accepts the world as it is. Those of us who are privileged enough to have access to computers and the internet know very well that our society is discriminatory and, quite frankly, evil. We know this, and yet will continue to tell ourselves that there is nothing that we can do - that this is just the way the world is.
This is, of course, the most ridiculous excuse in the history of excuses. It surpasses even "the dog ate my homework" in absurdity, because at least the dog eating your homework is possible. You know what's not possible? Being a contributing, individual part of a whole, and then calling oneself powerless. We are all parts of the whole of our society, which can not function without our participation. The sad truth is that we know that the world is a horrible place and that we are solely responsible for that, and yet we would rather delude ourselves into living in a little fantasy bubble that involves only those things that we choose to believe.
We have chosen to believe that there is nothing that we can do to change our society. The manifestation of pain and suffering in the world is a clear indicator that our religions, cultures, beliefs, choices, views, opinions, values and apparent "truths" have done nothing to improve the way our society functions - and yet we still desperately cling to our past, to our heritage, as if it will be our salvation. If these things we have been doing do not yield results that are best for all life in all ways, then doesn't it figure that these things are not beneficial? If we keep doing what we have always done then we will keep getting the results we have always gotten.
In order to develop a society that is best for all life in all ways at all times, we must let go of our idea that we are powerless to the "system". This is simply not true: we create and maintain the system in every moment that we choose to accept and allow its continued existence. Looking at our lives and at the world in a different way is not easy - we have only ever seen it from one perspective, which is the one taught to us by our parents and environment as children. These habits are not easily forgotten or dismissed - but we are capable of letting go - for this is what we must do if we are to have any hope of changing the world.