African National Congress Chooses Tycoon as the Party’s Deputy President
In South Africa, a nation where the gap between the rich and poor yawns wider than just about anywhere in the world, Cyril Ramaphosa might seem an unlikely savior to a political party whose base is the poor. His fortune is estimated to top $500 million. He sits on the board of the mining company whose 34 workers were killed in a harsh police crackdownon an illegal strike protesting low pay and miserable living conditions.
Yet when all the votes were counted at the African National Congress’s leadership conference here on Tuesday, Mr. Ramaphosa, a union leader turned business tycoon, had won more than 75 percent of the vote to become deputy president of the party, making him heir apparent to the top job and South Africa’s presidency once the nation’s leader, Jacob Zuma, ultimately leaves office.
Mr. Zuma, who is embattled but popular among the party faithful who attended the conference, easily won a second term as president of the party, beating back a challenge from his deputy, Kgalema Motlanthe.
The vote caps a tumultuous year for the A.N.C. It began with celebrations of the centenary of the party’s founding but quickly descended into party infighting and economic chaos after a series of violent wildcat strikes were met with a harsh police crackdown that killed the 34 miners. Revelations of corrupt deals and state-sponsored renovations on Mr. Zuma’s house in his home village tarnished his image as the son of a poor family who rose to the highest office in the land.
Widely respected as a skilful and formidable negotiator and strategist, Ramaphosa is best known for building up the biggest and most powerful trade union in South Africa — the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) — as well as for the crucial role he played, 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 democratic elections in April 1994.
In recent times he has been criticised however for his business interests – including a seat on the board of Lonmin - causing him to betray people he used to represent. On 15 August 2012 he called for action against striking platinum miners engaged in ‘dastardly criminal’ conduct.
He is married to Dr. Tshepo Motsepe and he has four children (two with his current wife).
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.
Among other positions, he is executive chairman of Shanduka Group, a company he founded. Shanduka Group has investments in the Resources Sector, Energy Sector, Real Estate, Banking, Insurance, and Telecoms (SEACOM). He is also chairman of The Bidvest Group Limited, and MTN. His other non-executive directorships include Macsteel Holdings, Alexander Forbes, Standard Bank and SABMiller. In March 2007 he was appointed Non-Executive joint Chairman of Mondi, a leading international paper and packaging group, when the company demerged from Anglo American plc.
In his role as a businessman, Ramaphosa is a member of the Coca-Cola Company International Advisory Board as well as the Unilever Africa Advisory Council. He was also the first deputy chairman of the Commonwealth Business Council.
Along with the ex-president of Finland, Martti Ahtisaari, he was appointed an inspector of the Irish Republican Army weapons dumps in Northern Ireland. Ramaphosa is the Honorary Consul General for Iceland in Johannesburg, South Africa.
what a great example of the sheep being so totally fooled..ANC votes for the guy who embodies everything they rally against..did they forget who got killed in the mine protests?..this guy is an elite..i suspect he will be pushed up to leader over zuma at some stage..check his bio out..he sits on the board of coca cola FFS!