Meet the 9 South African billionaires featured on the 2019 UK Rich List

The UK’s Sunday Times has published its Rich List for 2019, with nine South Africans and their families featuring.

According to the paper, amid heightening political uncertainty around Brexit, many of Britain’s wealthiest people have moved their assets elsewhere, ‘to make it easy to wire their money out of the country at a moment’s notice’.

Many are nursing big losses to their bank balances. However, despite the pain felt by some, the list presents another record year for the super-wealthy, The Times said.

The combined wealth of the 1,000 entrants has risen to £771.13 billion – up £47.776 billion in 2018 (where the total was £724 billion). The billionaire count has also risen to a record 151 – up six from last year.

Topping the Rich List in 2019 are the Indian-born business brothers, Sri and Gopi Hinduja, who run the Hinduja Group conglomerate.

The Hinduja’s have business dealings in many fields, including imports, banking, vehicles and healthcare.

In 2019 the brothers commanded a net worth of £22 billion (R409 billion), placing them above second-placed property investors David and Simon Reuben – who are worth £18.66 billion (R347 billion).

To be featured on the list, you would need £120 million to get onto the bottom rung — up from £115 million in 2018.

“The rich are definitely getting richer, but the names of our wealthiest individuals and families are constantly changing,” the paper said.

South Africans

The list covers individuals and families in the country, including many businessmen and women who have dual citizenship (through business, investments or residency).

Nine South African born individuals appear on the list, including Nicky Oppenheimer and Nathan Kirsh who regularly feature on the Forbes wealth list.

Also on the list is tech entrepreneur Mark Shuttlerworth, who is domiciled on the Isle of Man.

Oppenheimer is the highest-ranked South African, with a net worth of £5.66 billion – approximately R105 billion at current rates.

The table below outlines the South African-UK billionaires featured in 2019.

Below is a brief description of the billionaires featured.


Nicky Oppenheimer and Family

  • £5.66 billion (2018: £5.54 billion)
  • Oppenheimer, who has an estate near Maidenhead, sold his 40% stake in De Beers for $5.1 billion in 2012, reinvesting much of the cash in African food company investments and venture capital.

Nathan Kirsh

  • £4.37 billion (2018: £3.94 billion)
  • Kirsh owns 75% of Jetro Holdings, which operates more than 100 cash-and-carry stores and restaurant depots in America. He made his first fortune with a corn-milling business before moving into wholesale supermarkets and commercial property.
  • Kirsh’s son and daughter bought four apartments in Trump Tower in New York with a combined value of $56 million.

Douw Steyn and Family

  • £900 million (no change)
  • Aleksandr Orlov, the talking meerkat who stars in ads for price comparison website Comparethemarket.com, is better known in this country than South African entrepreneur Steyn, whose fortune has benefited from commission fees worth up to £80 per click from the site. It is part of the Peterborough-based BGL Group in which Steyn and his family have a majority stake. Plans for a float were shelved in November when a Canadian fund bought a 30% holding for £675 million.
  • Boasted no fewer than three former presidents — Bill Clinton, FW de Klerk and Nelson Mandela — at his 50th birthday party.

Manfred Gorvy and Family

  • £953 million (2018: £873 million)
  • South African-born accountant Gorvy’s interests range from property and venture capital to African agriculture and Refresco, an independent soft drinks and fruit juice bottler.

Sir Donald Gordon and Family

  • £600 million (2018: £700 million)
  • South African-born Gordon’s main UK operation split in 2010 into Intu Properties and Capital & Counties Properties.

Mark Shuttleworth

  • £500 million (no change)
  • “Shuttleworth’s wealth is soaring due to the success of his business Canonical, which uses the Ubuntu open-source software it developed to allow televisions, cars and other devices to connect to the web. Netflix, Tesla and Deutsche Telekom are among 800 clients of the London-based operation, whose sales are thought to have soared by 61% to more than £68 million in 2016.”
  • Shuttleworth, who has dual South African and British nationality, has a fortune valued at $1 billion by Bloomberg.

Tony Tabatznik and Family

  • £500 million (no change)
  • South African-born Tabatznik sold his Stevenage business Arrow Generics to US firm Watson Pharmaceuticals for $1.75 billion. He had previously netted £200 million for his family’s Generics (UK) outfit.

Vivian Imerman

  • £390 million (no change)
  • South African-born Imerman has been called the “the Man from Del Monte” after turning around the tinned fruit company and making £380 million from his share of the business, the Sunday Times said. He later took control of Whyte & Mackay, the Scottish whisky group, netting £396 million from its 2007 sale.
  • Imerman is currently in charge of London investment operation Vasari, “which has a holding in Leon, the restaurant chain co-founded by David Dimbleby’s son Henry”.

Richard Gnodde

  • £140 million (no change)
  • South African-born Gnodde, 58, took over as CEO of Goldman Sachs International after the exit in 2016 of Michael Sherwood.
  • He and his wife Kara are trustees of Kew Gardens.

Read: How the world’s richest people make their money

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Meet the 9 South African billionaires featured on the 2019 UK Rich List