A list, released by New World Wealth, has shown the top 10 business people in South Africa’s history who have made an impact. Not only in South Africa, but around the world.
The criteria for the list looked at how the listed individuals influenced the country and the international business community. As well as how they innovated in their field, created jobs, and overcame challenges and obstacles.
The 10 Most Successful Business People In South African History
1. Sol Kerzner
Kerzner bought his first hotel in Durban, South Africa, in 1962. The hotel rapidly became a huge success in South Africa and, as a result, he decided to build another five star graded hotel in Umhlanga, South Africa.
Most of the top luxury hotels and resorts in the country were built by him. Some notables include: Sun City, the Lost City, Sandton Sun, the Beverley Hills Hotel, the Elangeni, and the Beacon Island Hotel.
The impact these hotels have had on the surrounding areas has been astronomical.
Since his success in South Africa, Sol Kerzner has built several successful hotels worldwide. These include: Atlantis Bahamas, Atlantis Dubai, the One & Only Mexico, the One & Only Australia, the One & Only Mauritius, and the One & Only Bahamas.
2. Sir Donald Gordon
As the founder of Liberty Life, Donald Gordon will always be remembered for what surely remains his greatest achievement – the shopping centre that set the benchmark for luxury and class worldwide.
The shopping centre that the richest city in Africa is now built around, Sandton City.
3. Richard Maponya
Despite the many obstacles of the Apartheid government, Richard Maponya became a beacon of hope to the people of Soweto. He has started several successful businesses in the area in the retail and property space.
Maponya recently helped to develop Maponya Mall, which is one of the largest shopping centres in the country. He is respected and admired as a self-made businessman who rose from poverty and worked his way up to wealth and success.
4. Harry Oppenheimer
Harry Oppenheimer led South Africa’s two biggest companies (De Beers and Anglo America) through their most successful years. He created more jobs than any other South African businessman in history.
Harry Oppenheimer, and his wife Bridget, were also keen horse breeders. They bred Horse Chestnut, which is arguably the most exceptional race horse ever bred in South Africa. Chestnut was known for winning races by large margins. He won the J&B Met by over 8 lengths.
5. Pam Golding
Pam Golding formed Pam Golding Properties in 1976 and turned it into the largest estate agency in the country. Her company has since gone on to transform the luxury residential landscape in South Africa, especially Cape Town’s Atlantic Seaboard.
6. Adrian Gore
Adrian Gore founded Discovery Health in 1992. His company went on to forever change the health insurance space in SA, with innovative products such as Discovery Vitality. Many insurance companies overseas have now begun to copy the Discovery model. Furthermore, Discovery themselves have taken their products abroad with good success.
7. Nthato Motlana
Dr. Nthato Motlana is ‘the renaissance man’ of South Africa, with successful careers in politics, medicine, and business. He was the founder of NAIL and a mentor to many of the top business leaders in South Africa today. He is considered by many to be the father of economic empowerment in South Africa.
8. Patrice Motsepe
After a successful career as a lawyer at Bowman Gilfillan, Motsepe founded ARM (African Rainbow Minerals) in 1997 and turned it into one of the largest mining and mineral groups in the world.
He has since diversified into a number of other key sectors. Motsepe is ranked as South Africa’s fifth richest person, with a fortune exceeding R1.3 billion in 2017.
In December, he invested in a $1 billion fund as part of the Breakthrough Energy Coalition, launched by Bill Gates.
9. Anton Rupert
Dr. Anton Rupert founded the Rembrandt Group in the 1940s. After initially focusing on the tobacco industry (Peter Stuyvesant), his company soon moved into industrials and luxury goods. Rembrandt has since been split into Remgro (an investment company with financial, mining, and industrial interests) and Richemont (a Swiss-based luxury goods group).
Rupert was also a founding member of the WWF (World Wildlife Fund) in the 1960s. His son Johan has since turned Richemont into one of the largest luxury goods companies in the world.
10. Douw Steyn
Douw Steyn founded Auto General Insurance in 1985 and turned it into one of the largest insurance companies in South Africa. He has since started similarly successful businesses in the UK (Compare the Market, Budget Insurance, etc.).
He recently helped to develop Steyn City in Johannesburg, which is one of the most impressive residential estates in the world.