According to the recently released London-based Sunday Times Rich List, Kirsh and Oppenheimer are among the United Kingdom’s richest people, ranked 17th and 19th, with a reported net worth of £5,06 billion (R92,3 billion) and £4,55 billion (R82,9 billion) respectively.
Kirsh (83), an astute self-made multi-billionaire industrialist who was born and educated in South Africa, left the country to become a citizen of Swaziland in the late eighties following the breakup of his Kirsh Industries business partnership with Sanlam.
His ranking on the rich list has climbed dramatically from last year’s 28th position to make the top 20.
Kirsh owns Jetro Holdings, a New York-based food and cash and carry wholesale business, as well as business interests in Europe, Australia, the US and Southern Africa.
He’s also the director and biggest shareholder in Magal Security Systems, an Israeli company and the main supplier of electric fences in the West Bank.
Last year Kirsh came under fire from the SA Communist Party (SACP) and the ANC Youth League (ANCYL) who fingered Kirsh as the man behind the failed shotgun marriage between the DA’s Helen Zille and Agang SA’s Mamphela Ramphele. He admitted providing both parties with funding, but denied being the man responsible for bringing the two parties together.
“I believe there’s got to be an opposition to the government, but I wasn’t involved in the marriage,” he was quoted saying in an interview with Business Times last year.
“Power corrupts if there are no constraints on anyone. It’s the same reason I supported the ANC against the previous government, because I thought it was essential to have an opposition.”
Mining magnate Nicky Oppenheimer (69) and his family’s whopping net worth is valued at R82,9 billion, just above Branson’s £4,1 billion (R74,7 billion).
Oppenheimer was named the second-richest man in South Africa by Forbes earlier this year. According to that rich list, Oppenheimer was said to be worth $6,7 billion (R79,5 billion) and ranked at 201 globally.
Luxury goods tycoon and Richemont chairman Johann Rupert took the Forbes Rich List top spot with an estimated net worth of of $7,4 billion (R87,8 billion), while he’s ranked the 179th richest man in the world.
Featuring on the highly respected British version of theSunday Times Rich List is a significant feat given the stricter requirements a featured person had to meet to qualify for inclusion this year.
Other South Africans to make the Sunday Times Rich List include:
- Liberty Life founder Donald Gordon (84) ranked 123rd on the list with an estimated net worth of £900 million (R16,4 billion).
- Insurance and property tycoon Douw Steyn (62), positioned 160th, is said to be worth £700 million (R12,7 billion).
- Manfred Gorvy (76), founder and Chairman of London based Hanover Acceptances is ranked 262ndand worth £400 million (R7,2 billion).
- Vivian Immerman (59), former CEO of Del Monte International and Scottish beverage company Whyte and Mackay is reportedly worth £355 million pounds (R6,4 billion) and ranked 286th.
- Mark Shuttleworth’s (41) is ranked 608th with amassed wealth estimated at £160 million pounds (R2,9 billion).
- Goldman Sachs International co-CEO Richard Gnodde comes in at 707th with a £135 million (R2,4 billion) net worth.
Meanwhile Formula One racing champion Lewis Hamilton was on a separate list, named the UK’s richest sportsman, with a recorded net worth of £88 million (R1,6 billion), followed by Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney at £72 million (R1,3 billion) and Formula One racer Jenson Button ranked third and said to worth £71 million (R1,2 billion).