Durban - Durban is home to 31 of KwaZulu-Natal’s 35 “ultra high net worth individuals” with wealth of more than R260 million each and, predictably, most of the super-rich stay in the affluent suburbs of Umhlanga and La Lucia.
A report by WealthInsight, a London-based business information and wealth consultancy, entitled South Africa - The Future High Net Worth Individuals to 2016 and published last year, found there were 543 individuals in South Africa with ultra high net worth, with Joburg home to 261, Cape Town 103, Durban 31 and Pretoria 28 at the end of 2011.
People classified as “ultra high net worth individuals” are those with wealth of $30m (R260m) or more, including equities, bonds, cash and deposits, fixed-income products, property, alternative assets and business interests.
The only Durban tycoon mentioned in WealthInsight’s report was Stephen Saad, the founder and chief executive of the La Lucia-based pharmaceutical giant Aspen Pharmacare. Aspen’s market capitalisation on the JSE is more than R74 billion.
WealthInsight does not list the other South African ultra high net worth individuals in its report.
Saad is a rand billionaire and falls just shy of being a dollar billionaire, according to the Forbes list.
WealthInsight reported that Durban was the top performing city for growth of ultra high net worth individuals, growing 32 percent from 2007 to 2011. This was compared with growth of 21 percent and 17 percent for Joburg and Cape Town over the period.
WealthInsight predicted that Durban would boast the highest growth in ultra high net worth individuals between 2011 and 2016.
Durban was forecast to grow its super rich by 55 percent, Pretoria by 50 percent, Joburg by 44 percent and Cape Town by 30 percent.
These projections incorporated sector forecasts, recent growth trends and the expected movement of ultra high net worth individuals between areas.
Speaking to The Mercury, Andrew Amoils, a WealthInsight analyst, said strong business growth in Durban had resulted in the emergence of a large number of new ultra high net worth individuals.
“Durban benefited from a large number of ultra high net worth individuals moving to the city, mainly to Umhlanga and La Lucia,” he added.
According to the report, Umhlanga was home to the most ultra high net worth individuals in KZN with 11, followed closely by La Lucia with eight.
Mount Edgecombe, Umdloti and Morningside each had three, while Pietermaritzburg was home to two.
WealthInsight said while Umhlanga started as a holiday home destination for wealthy Joburgers, it had become the home of choice for the largest percentage of Durban’s ultra high net worth individuals. This had been aided by the construction of the giant Gateway Shopping Centre in 2001 and the degeneration of central Durban over the past two decades.
This had motivated many of Durban’s rich to move to Umhlanga and La Lucia with many companies setting up offices in the area.
Andrew Layman, the chief executive of the Durban Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said WealthInsight highlighted encouraging signs. However, the number of just 31 ultra high net worth individuals in Durban was “still disappointingly” low when compared with Joburg and Cape Town.
The higher growth forecast for Durban was probably also because it was off a low base, he said. He said many wealthy business people in Durban were from the Indian community who did not talk about their wealth.