Cyril Ramaphosa, chairman of MTN Group Ltd. and Bidvest Ltd., is reviewing his business interests after being elected deputy president of South Africa’s ruling African National Congress.
“This is necessary to address any potential conflicts of interest and to ensure that I can adequately perform the responsibilities of this position,” Ramaphosa said in an e-mailed statement today.
Ramaphosa, 60, won 76 percent of the votes in a three-way contest for the No. 2 spot in the ruling party, making him the frontrunner to succeed Jacob Zuma as the nation’s president in 2019. Ramaphosa is the richest black South African after his brother-in-law, Patrice Motsepe, according to Johannesburg-based Sunday Times newspaper.
A former labor union leader and secretary-general of the ANC, Ramaphosa has built up a business empire since quitting politics in 1996. Shanduka Group Ltd., an investment company he founded, owns stakes in MTN, Bidvest, Standard Bank Group Ltd., and Liberty Group Ltd. and has the McDonald’s Corp. franchise in South Africa.
He also owns a direct stake in Ivanplats Ltd., the Canadian mining company founded by billionaire Robert Friedland, and sits on the boards of brewer SABMiller Plc, lender Standard Bank and platinum miner Lonmin Plc.
Ramaphosa’s election yesterday prompted calls from labor groups and lawmakers for him to quit his businesses. Zwelinzima Vavi, secretary-general of the 2.2-million-member Congress of South African Trade Unions, said Ramaphosa must vacate all his business posts and place his holdings in a trust.
“In consultation with the ANC national officials, I am undertaking a process of engagement with several stakeholders on the implications of my election to this post,” Ramaphosa said.
In September, Sunday Times estimated his wealth at 2.22 billion rand ($262 million), excluding property and unlisted assets.