Mamphela Ramphele: How to lose R450m

Shock, horror. There's a discrepancy in Dr Mamphela Ramphele's net worth. The Agang SA leader caused a stir last week when she announced her net worth at R55-million and challenged President Jacob Zuma to reveal his worth. All this was done in the name of transparency and accountability. So imagine the surprise when knowledge of the Forbes 2011 richest women in Africa list surfaced.

The list from two years ago states that Ramphele's estimated worth is R500-million – almost 10 times more than what she revealed. In corner A, we have Forbes Africa editor Chris Bishop, who is sticking to his guns and maintains that these lists are well researched and formulated by highly trained economists. In corner B, we have Ramphele and Agang SA spokesperson Thabo Leshilo, who can't understand how Forbes reached their total and have requested that the magazine elaborate on its evaluation.
Two questions remain:

1. Why did Ramphele not contest the article two years ago if it was inaccurate?

2. If in fact the Forbes estimate is correct, what happened to the remaining R450-million?  

Here's a guess at seven things she could have spent it on:

1. Chomps: At R3 a chocolate, that's 150-million chocolates. Where the party at? Casa Ramphele, that's where. 

2. Chesa Nyama: An average meal costs R35. For R500-million, Ramphele could buy 12 857 142 meals. That's just enough for an Indian wedding I think, minus the tea table.​

3. Advocate Barbie: It takes cash to keep that hair blonde. Cezanne Visser, at an average of R500 per bleaching session, could cover 900 000 visits to the salon. 


4. Tony Yengeni's Maserati: This politician floored his Maserati GranCabrio, which goes for about R1.9-million. If Ramphele used her money to buy these for him, he could have floored 236 of them. But then again, that's a lot of overnight time in jail. 


5. Malema's taxes: According to a Sars claim, the EFF leader owes R16-million in taxes. Here Lem-Lems, let Ramphele foot that bill for you, 28 times over. Just in case it happens again … and again … and again. 


6. Khanyi Dhlomo's Luminance loan: Hyde Park store owner and media personality Khanyi Dhlomo could have avoided a lot of hot water by abandoning the R34.1-million lent to her by the NEF and asking Ramphele for it instead. With R450-million on offer, Khanyi could have opened 13 stores.


7. Nkandla: Avoiding R206-million in taxpayers money, Ramphele could build herself two Nkandlas and probably get a wizard and a yellow brick road leading up to the compounds with the change. 

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