Elon Musk, the South African-born entrepreneur, is now officially the world’s second-richest man.
Musk overtook Bill Gates, the founder of Microsoft, thanks to a rise in the stock price of his company, Tesla. Musk is now worth US$128 billion. Only Jeff Bezos, the founder of internet shopping behemoth Amazon, is richer. Bezos’s wealth is estimated at US$182 billion.
Tesla is not Musk’s only venture; he also runs an infrastructure company, the Boring Company, and SpaceX, which is at the forefront of private space exploration. SpaceX has been successful in recent times and the company has successfully launched a number of astronauts into orbit to the International Space Station. SpaceX is also planning on launching an unmanned mission to Mars in 2024. Musk is also an advocate for Martian colonization, and said in 2018 he thought it was likely he would spend his retirement on the Red Planet.
The enigmatic Musk was born in Pretoria in 1971 and moved to Canada in 1989, before settling in the United States.
Following the announcement of Musk’s new place on the rich list, senior ANC member and former cabinet minister Derek Hanekom said on Twitter: ‘Of course we celebrate his success. Now wouldn’t it be wonderful if he ploughs back some of that wealth into the land of his birth!’
Twitter users pointed out that it was unlikely that Musk would have been as successful in South Africa as he had been in the United States thanks to racial and other diktats from the ANC government. Others noted that the ANC and South African government had no claim over Musk’s wealth and he could do with it as he pleased.