*Businessman cum Politician With Estimated Net Worth Of Over $450 Million
Matamela Cyril Ramaphosa, the current and fifth President of Republic of South Africa, is a workaholic, businessman cum Politician and veteran activist.
Born on 17 November, 1952, Matamela Cyril Ramaphosa, emerged as the fifth and current President of South Africa, as a result of the resignation of the erstwhile President Jacob Zuma.
He assumed office following a vote of the National Assembly on 15 February, 2018.
According to Wikipedia, Ramaphosa was previously an anti-apartheid activist, trade union leader and businessman. He served as the Deputy President of South Africa from 2014 to 2018 and was elected President of the African National Congress (ANC) at the ANC National Conference in Nasrec, South of Johannesburg in December 2017.
He is also the Chairman of the National Planning Commission which is responsible for strategic planning for the future of South Africa, with the goal of rallying the nation “around a common set of objectives and priorities to drive development over the longer term”.
He has been called a skillful negotiator and strategist who acted as the ANC’s Chief Negotiator during South Africa’s transition to democracy. Ramaphosa built up the biggest and most powerful trade union in South Africa—the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM).
He played a crucial role, with Roelf Meyer of the National Party, during the negotiations to bring about a peaceful end to apartheid and steer the country towards its first fully democratic elections in April 1994.Ramaphosa was Nelson Mandela’s choice for future president.
Today, Ramaphosa is well known as a businessman and has an estimated net worth of over $450 million with 31 properties and previously held notable ownership in companies such as McDonald’s South Africa, chair of the board for MTN and member of the board for Lonmin.
Despite his credentials as an important proponent of South Africa’s peaceful transition to democracy, he has also been widely criticised for the conduct of his business interests, although he has never been indicted for illegal activity in any of these controversies.
Controversial business dealings include acting as Chairperson for the MTN Group during the MTN Irancellscandal when a disgruntled former employee, Mr Chris Kilowan, alleged that the organisation had bribed officials in Iran.
However the Hoffmann Commission’s finding concluded: “The committee exonerated MTN and found that Mr Kilowan who had given two statements in arbitration proceedings brought by Turkcell against the Islamic Republic of Iran and a deposition in the United States proceedings against MTN was in the words of the committee ‘shown to be a fantasist and a conspiracy theorist”
His joint venture with Glencore and allegations of benefitting illegally from coal deals with Eskom which he has staunchly denied, during which Glencore was in the public spotlight for its tendentious business activities involving Tony Blair in the Middle East; and his employment on the board of directors of
Lonmin while taking an active stance when the Marikana Massacre took place on Lonmin’s Marikana premises.
On 15 August 2012 he called for action against the Marikana miners’ strike, which he called “dastardly criminal” conduct. He later admitted and regretted his involvement in the act and said that it could have been avoided if contingency plans had been made prior to the labour strike. He is a member of the Venda ethnic group.
Early life and education:
Matamela Cyril Ramaphosa was born in Soweto, Johannesburg, on 17 November 1952. He is the second of the three children of Erdmuth and Samuel Ramaphosa, a retired policeman. He grew up in Soweto, attending Tshilidzi Primary School and Sekano Ntoane High School there. In 1971, he matriculated from Mphaphuli High School in Sibasa, Venda. He subsequently registered to study law at the University of the North (Turfloop) in 1972.
While at university, Ramaphosa became involved in student politics and joined the South African Students Organisation (SASO) and the Black People’s Convention (BPC). This resulted in him being detained in solitary confinement for eleven months in 1974 under Section 6 of the Terrorism Act, for organising pro-Frelimo rallies.
In 1976, he was detained again, following the unrest in Soweto, and held for six months at John Vorster Square under the Terrorism Act. After his release, he became a law clerk for a Johannesburg firm of attorneys and continued with his legal studies through correspondence with the University of South Africa (UNISA), where he obtained his B. Proc. Degree in 1981.
Political activist and trade union leader:
After completing his legal qualifications and obtaining his degree, Ramaphosa joined the Council of Unions of South Africa (CUSA) as an advisor in the legal department. In 1982, CUSA requested that Ramaphosa start a union for mineworkers. This new union was launched in the same year and was named the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM). Ramaphosa was arrested in Lebowa, on the charge of organising or planning to take part in a meeting in Namakgale which had been banned by the local magistrate.
Fight against Apartheid:
In August 1982, CUSA resolved to form the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM), and in December Ramaphosa became its first secretary. Ramaphosa was the conference organiser in the preparations leading to the formations of the Congress of South African Trade Union (COSATU). He delivered a keynote address at Cosatu’s launch rally in Durban in December 1985. In March 1986 he was part of COSATU’s delegation which met the African National Congress in Lusaka, Zambia.
Ramaphosa was elected as the first General Secretary of the union, a position he held until he resigned in June 1991, following his election as Secretary General of the African National Congress (ANC). Under his leadership, union membership grew from 6,000 in 1982 to 300,000 in 1992, giving it control of nearly half of the total black workforce in the South African mining industry. As General Secretary, he, James Motlatsi (President of NUM), and Elijah Barayi (Vice President of NUM) also led the mineworkers in one of the biggest strikes ever in South African history.
In December 1988, Ramaphosa and other prominent members of the Soweto community met Soweto’s Mayor to discuss the rent boycott crisis.
In January 1990, Ramaphosa accompanied released ANC political prisoners to Lusaka, Zambia. Ramaphosa served as chairman of the National Reception committee, which co-ordinated arrangements for the release of Nelson Mandela and subsequent welcome rallies within South Africa, and also became a member of the international Mandela Reception Committee.
He was elected General-Secretary of the ANC in a conference held in Durban in July 1991. Ramaphosa was a visiting Professor of Law at Stanford University in the United States in October 1991.
In 1985, the NUM broke away from CUSA and helped to establish the Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU). When COSATU joined forces with the United Democratic Front (UDF) political movement against the National Party government of P. W. Botha, Ramaphosa took a leading role in what became known as the Mass Democratic Movement (MDM).
When Nelson Mandela was released from prison, Ramaphosa was on the National Reception Committee.
Secretary General of the ANC:
Subsequent to his election as Secretary General of the African National Congress in 1991, he became head of the negotiation team of the ANC in negotiating the end of apartheid with the National Party government. Following the first fully democratic elections in 1994, Ramaphosa became a member of parliament; he was elected the chairperson of its Constitutional Assembly on 24 May 1994 and played a central role in the government of national unity.
After he lost the race to become President of South Africa to Thabo Mbeki, he resigned from his political positions in January 1997 and moved to the private sector, where he became a director of New Africa Investments Limited. He came in first place in the 1997 election to the ANC’s National Executive Committee.
While not a member of the South African Communist Party (SACP), Ramaphosa has claimed that he is a committed socialist.
He officially became a candidate for the Deputy Presidency on 17 December 2012 and entered the race with the strong backing of the Zuma camp. On 18 December 2012, he was elected as Deputy President of the ANC. Cyril Ramaphosa received 3,018 votes, while Mathews Phosa received 470 votes and Tokyo Sexwale received 463 votes.
Deputy President of South Africa:
Ramaphosa was appointed Deputy President by Jacob Zuma on 25 May 2014, and sworn into office by Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng the following day. Following his appointment, Ramaphosa was made Leader of Government Business in the National Assembly in terms of section 91(4) of the Constitution.
His responsibilities included: The affairs of the national executive in Parliament; the programming of parliamentary business initiated by the national executive, within the time allocated for that purpose and ensuring that Cabinet members attend to their parliamentary responsibilities.
On 3 June 2014, President Jacob Zuma announced that Ramaphosa would be appointed as Chairman of the National Planning Commission, with Minister in the Presidency for Planning, Jeff Radebe serving as the Commission’s deputy Chairman.
In July 2014, Ramaphosa called for unity in the country, following calls by Julius Malema to scrap the singing of the Afrikaans portion of the national anthem. Ramaphosa said: “We are about building a nation and we must extend a hand of friendship, a hand of continued reconciliation to those who feel that the national anthem does not represent them any longer, and it can happen on both sides”.
President of the ANC:
Ramaphosa has long been considered a potential presidential candidate and ran in the 1997 ANC Presidential election, losing to Thabo Mbeki.
Ramaphosa announced that he would seek the ANC Presidency in 2017, with his second run for President. Ramaphosa launched his campaign slogan as #CR17 Siyavuma.
By August 2017, Ramaphosa had received the endorsement of the trade union COSATU, the National Union of Mineworkers as well as the Northern Cape, Eastern Cape and Gauteng provincial ANC leadership.
Individuals who also stepped forward to support Ramaphosa include education minister Angie Motshekga, Cosatu’s president Sdumo Dlamini, former finance minister Pravin Gordhan and former KwaZulu-Natal Premier Senzo Mchunu.
On 18 December 2017, Ramaphosa was elected the president of the ANC at the party’s 54th Elective Conference, defeating his rival Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, ex-wife of President Zuma, by 2440 votes to 2261.
Following Zuma’s resignation, Ramaphosa was elected unopposed as President of South Africa by the National Assembly on 15 February 2018.
Ramaphosa is a very private person and not much is known about his personal life. Ramaphosa had previously been married to businesswoman Nomazizi Mtshotshisa, but the couple divorced. He later married Tshepo Motsepe, the sister of South African mining billionaire Patrice Motsepe.
Ramaphosa has four children.He owns a R30,000,000 luxury mansion at the foot of Lions Head Cape Town. Ramaphosa is known to be one of the richest people in South Africa, with an estimated net worth of more than $450,000,000 and has appeared in financial magazines such as Forbes Africa and Bloomberg.
Ramaphosa is also the founder of the Cyril Ramaphosa Foundation.