The two-time winner of this event was two under par after four holes, alongside Scotland's David Drysdale (through seven), Danish Challenge Tour graduate Thorbjorn Olesen (eight) and fellow South Africans Divan van den Heever (six) and Martin Maritz (six).
Play at the 100th edition of the competition was suspended at 0853 local time (0653 BST) after persistent drizzle around the Durban Country Club made parts of the course unplayable.
The adverse weather also meant that just six players had completed nine holes - Norwegian Marius Thorp as well as home pair Willie van der Merwe and Colin Nel amongst them to sit a shot off the leaders.
Also in a group of 12 players on one under were Britons David Howell (through six) and Scott Jamieson (three) along with Open Championship winner Louis Oosthuizen (six).
Defending champion Richie Ramsay was on one over through four holes - the Scot's solitary bogey coming on the par four 11th.
A further announcement is expected at 1230 local time (1030 BST), with the earliest time that play is expected to resume - rain pending - being 1330 (1130 BST).