‘Can you give me a young R50k, bra Elon?’ – Mzansi reacts to Elon Musk becoming the world’s richest man

SA-born entrepreneur Elon Musk is the richest man in the world.
SA-born entrepreneur Elon Musk is the richest man in the world.
Image: REUTERS/ KYLE GRILLOT

The social media streets were filled with celebration on Thursday after reports that South African-born businessman Elon Musk is the world's richest man.

Bloomberg reported that the Tesla chief and billionaire entrepreneur, who hails from Pretoria, surpassed Amazon's Jeff Bezos to take the title.

Including Thursday's gains in Tesla shares, Musk now has a net worth of more than $188.5bn (R2.9-trillion), $1.5bn (R23bn) more than Bezos, the report said.

The publication said Musk's personal wealth was boosted by last year's more than eight-fold surge in the shares of Tesla, which became the world's most valuable carmaker. He has a 20% stake in the carmaker and about $42bn (R647bn) of unrealised paper gains on vested stock options.

The Forbes Billionaires List, however, said Musk still trails Amazon's Bezos by $7.8bn (R120bn). It took into account his Tesla stocks that he pledged as collateral for personal loans.

Musk's wealth sparked a debate between ANC stalwart Derek Hanekom and DA MP Cameron MacKenzie late last year, when Hanekom suggested that the billionaire should invest in “the land of his birth”. 

Musk dominated the local Twitter trends list on Thursday after the news of him topping the world's rich list, with many sharing memes and messages in reaction to the news.

While Musk left South Africa while still a teen, many brought up his South African heritage and said it was great to see him succeed.

Others just wanted him to “come home” so they could breath the same air as the world's richest man.


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