Spotlight on Top Earners in South Africa

Image courtesy Quince Media/Pixabay

So, how rich exactly are South Africa’s top earners? It’s hard to tell, but the tax data for the years 2011 and 2014 was made available to us, so we dove in and discovered a few nuggets of information about South Africa’s millionaire class.

Speaking at a SALDRU seminar, PhD candidate Janina Hundenborn, talked about the effect of top incomes on inequality in South Africa and shared the following information about top earners in the country.

In 2014, there were 1048 individuals that earned more than R10 million per annum. What’s interesting about this figure is that in 2011, South Africa only had 482 people who earned more than R10 million. So, the data suggests that in a period of three years, the number of people earning above R10 million more than doubled.

The median income amongst high earners is R14 million rand per annum. At the very top end, the highest taxable income was R100 million in 2011, whilst in 2014, it jumped to R150 million.

Another interesting fact about high earners in South Africa is the fact that foreign taxpayers tend to congregate at the top.

Overall, high earners in South Africa tend to be male (85%) and in their fifties or older.