Best-performing JSE shares over 20 years

Capitec has produced the best return for shareholders over the last 20 years, followed by Naspers, Clicks, Shoprite, and Mr Price. 

Daily Investor analysed company share price performance from 30 March 2003 to 30 March 2023. 

Capitec has shown exceptional growth since it was founded 22 years ago by Jannie Mouton, Michiel Le Roux, and Riaan Stassen.

Today, it is the largest bank in South Africa in terms of clients and is rapidly expanding its product offering.

Another interesting observation is that all the companies, except for Naspers, derive most of their earnings from South Africa and operate primarily within the country.

Most of these companies are also constituents of the JSE Top 40 index. The only exception is Mr Price, which falls outside the largest 40 companies on the exchange.


  • Total return – 75,169%
  • Market capitalisation R198.8 billion
  • Revenue – R23.37 billion (2022) 

Capitec was founded in 2001 by Michiel Le Roux, Riaan Stassen, and Jannie Mouton. Mouton invested in the bank through his holding company, PSG. 

Since then, Capitec has grown rapidly from 25,000 active clients in 2001 to 19 million at the end of 2022. 

The bank shows no signs of slowing down with the acquisition of Mercantile Bank in 2019, helping it expand into business banking. 

It has also partnered with Easy Equities to give its clients easy access to JSE-listed shares and funds. 

Over the last year, its client base has grown by an average of 160,000 clients per month, making it South Africa’s biggest digital bank by customers.


  • Total return – 27,159%
  • Market capitalisation – R1.43 trillion
  • Revenue – R7.94 billion (2022) 

Founded in 1915 as an Afrikaans newspaper publisher, Naspers embraced the internet revolution in the 1990s and 2000s to become Africa’s most valuable company. 

It has interests in online retail, publishing and venture capital investment. 

Most notably, Naspers invested $32 million in Tencent in 2001, when it was an obscure Chinese tech startup. This investment is now worth over $100 billion. 

Tencent has since been placed under Naspers’ international investment unit, Prosus, to reduce the discount it trades at relative to the value of the investment. 

As part of a share swap deal in 2021, Prosus acquired a 49% stake in its parent company Naspers while Naspers remained the majority shareholder in Prosus. 

The company has maintained its presence in local news, owning Africa’s largest publisher of magazines and newspapers – Media24. 

Naspers also owns Takealot, South Africa’s largest online retailer. 


  • Total return – 4,493%
  • Market capitalisation – R63.1 billion
  • Revenue – R39.59 billion (2022) 

Clicks has a 54-year history in South Africa and has been listed on the JSE for the past 27 years. 

Interestingly, the company only entered the retail pharmacy market by opening the first Clicks pharmacy in 2004 due to legislation changing in 2003 to allow corporate pharmacy ownership. 

The company has since become a dominant player in this sector, purchasing United Pharmaceutical Distributors (UPD) to supply its stores. UPD remains the only pharmaceutical distributor with a national presence.

Clicks was also the first healthcare retailer to introduce private label brands in 2011, giving it complete control over its supply chain.

It also holds a 25% stake in the personal care brand Sorbet.


  • Total return – 3,923%
  • Market capitalisation – R131.6 billion
  • Revenue – R184 billion (2022) 

The Shoprite Group of companies was established when PEP Stores purchased a small grocery company with eight stores from the Rogut family in 1979.

The first Shoprite store was opened in Cape Town, South Africa, to offer consumers affordable prices and a wide range of products.

Shoprite grew rapidly in the 1980s, expanding its operations to become the largest retailer in South Africa, with more than 150 stores. 

In the 1990s, Shoprite continued to expand its operations, opening stores in other African countries, including Namibia, Botswana, and Zambia. 

The company also began diversifying its business, entering the fast food market with Hungry Lion and the pharmaceutical market with Medirite.

Today, Shoprite is one of the largest retailers in Africa, with more than 2,800 stores in 15 countries. 

Mr Price

  • Total return – 3,101%
  • Market capitalisation – R37.36 billion 
  • Revenue – R27.87 billion (2022) 

Mr Price is a South African retail chain specialising in affordable fashion and homeware. The company was founded in 1985 by Stewart Cohen, who saw an opportunity to offer fashionable clothing at a lower price point.

Initially, Mr Price operated a single store in Durban, South Africa. However, Mr Price began to expand rapidly throughout South Africa.

In the 1990s, Mr Price expanded beyond South Africa’s borders, opening stores in other African countries – Botswana, Namibia, and Mozambique. 

Mr Price is one of the largest retailers in South Africa today, with over 1,200 stores in 14 countries. The company is also known for its commitment to social responsibility and sustainability.

Mr Price has implemented several initiatives to reduce its environmental impact and support the communities in which it operates.

Top five JSE shares over the last 20 years

CompanyTotal Return
Mr Price3,101%
Returns as at 30 March 2023