Sanctuary for super-rich

2014-09-25 00:00

AN elite estate north of Durban has emerged as the richest address in South Africa.

A new report shows that more super-rich individuals — those with a net worth of over R100 million — have homes at Zimbali than any other residential complex.

Fancourt in the Western Cape also features houses owned by 90 mega-rich families, but fewer live there year-round than in the Ballito-based estate.

Although some smaller complexes have pricier homes — like those worth up to R130 million at Jo’burg’s Waterfall Equestrian Estate, or the new “Steyn City” — Zimbali’s super-rich community dwarfs the 70 at Knysna’s Pezula and the 40 at Erinvale.

The New World Wealth survey also revealed that, while Gauteng and the Western Cape have hundreds of super-rich dotted all over, KZN’s dollar multi-millionaires are concentrated into two exclusive islands of wealth.

Umhlanga was listed as the only KZN suburb in the top 10 ranking of super-rich suburbs nationally and ranked second behind only Knysna as the place for multi-millionaire “second homes”, with 250 of their holiday mansions.

Meanwhile, at least four Zimbali homes are currently on sale for over R35 million.

Mt Edgecombe comes in a distant second on KZN’s rich addresses list, with only 15 to 20 homeowners worth over R100 million.

Zimbali’s prominent property owners — most of whom are not among its 90 super-rich owners — include arms deal consultant Fana Hlongwane, football supremo Kaizer Motaung, Durban businessman Stephen Saad and former justice minister Penuell Maduna.

One resident, Delia Jay, told The Witness: “It’s like another world, living here — its completely isolated; you could be in Australia or anywhere. There is natural beauty and also extreme wealth. A lot of reclusive people stay here. It really is a sanctuary. But there aren’t many children. I struggle to find other kids for my son [to play with].”

Survey analyst Andrew Amoils said the super wealthy were attracted by Zimbali’s proximity to King Shaka International and a warm ocean — and also its lack of proximity to almost anything else. He said he “would not be surprised” if smaller, hyper-elite estates popped up around Umdloti and Ballito.

“The [Dolphin Coast] is close enough to Gauteng that some residents can commute from Jo’burg by helicopter,” he said.

Amoils said the numbers also reflected the fact that the 700-hectare Zimbali was a “really large” estate: a place where billionaires were forced to share an address with mere millionaires.

Last week,  The Witness needed an invitation and separate one-off security codes for both a reporter and a photographer to access the estate, and had to then provide their driver’s licences at two separate security booms.

The estate website states that “the entire perimeter is monitored by a combination of surveillance technologies”, and adds that “there are no unsightly security gates enclosing homes, no intrusive walling, no ubiquitous neighbourhood watch signs and no watchdogs to assault the silence or hound the joggers with their frantic barking”.

Jay said a house equivalent to her former R7,7 million home in Jo’burg “would probably cost R20 million at Zimbali”.

But she said her neighbourhood was “pristine”: “The daily effort to keep it that way is quite remarkable.”

The [Dolphin Coast] is close enough to Gauteng that some residents can commute from Jo’burg by helicopter.

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