Obituary: Property developer ‘a true son of PMB’

2008-04-17 00:00

Well-known Pietermaritzburg businessman Douglas Barrington Porritt died on Tuesday after a long struggle with cancer, at 82 years of age.

Described as a true son of the city, Porritt was educated at Merchiston and Hilton College.

Porritt established his own business, Douglas B. Porritt & Company, which developed into one of the premier real estate businesses in Pietermaritzburg. The business was sold to the Anglo-American Group in the 1960s, after which it merged into the Syfrets Group.

According to his son, Gary, Porritt stayed on as MD of Syfrets for some years. During that period, he also served as the chairman of the Natal board of the SA Permanent Building Society.

Described as an active property developer in the city, he worked in collaboration with Russell Collins and the late Ken Collins.

Properties they developed together included Laager Centre, Selgro Centre, Newholmes township, large sections of Cleland housing and the Shortt’s Retreat industrial development.

He was also one of the leading property auctioneers in the city.

Porrit remained active during the 1970s and ’80s in many major commercial and industrial property transactions in the city.

He was twice elected national president of the SA Institute of Estate Agents and Auctioneers.

He also served as an adviser to the MEC for Economic Affairs and was a founder member of the Estate Agents’ Board.

Porritt’s father, Stanley Herbert Porritt, was a founding member of the Law Faculty of the University of Natal some 100 years ago, and his grandfather was the owner of a well-known wagon- and coach-building business in Pietermaritzburg during the 1800s

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