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Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa is completing his exit from life as a business mover-and-shaker. The sale will finalise the disposal of all Ramaphosa’s commercial interests other than his investments in property, reports Business Day. Ramaphosa’s aspirations have been to remove conflicts of interests as he works towards the good of the nation – a noble move, but also a smart one in an environment in which allegations of state capture, financial mismanagement and general hubris have tainted the ANC legacy. This final step to re-invent himself back into a “man of the people” will delight many who pin their hopes on Ramaphosa finally getting to rule South Africa. But, many obstacles remain between him and the job of president, in particular navigating the political machinations deep within the ANC that have kept someone like Jacob Zuma in power. There are signs that Ramaphosa is not as influential as he, or others, might like. For example, Zuma effectively wrestled control of State Owned Enterprises (SOEs) from him, by taking the chair of the SOE inter-ministerial committee in August. Ramaphosa has consistently missed out on the role of President. The 63-year-old was expected to pick up where Nelson Mandela left off, but Thabo Mbeki was given the baton instead. After being snubbed, the former unionist focused on business, amassing enormous wealth, before returning to the political stage in 2012. Over the past two years, Ramaphosa has found himself in a delicate situation: on the one hand having to pledge support in public for Zuma and on the other being given tasks like overseeing the turn-around of SAA – and ultimately, and inevitably, failing. Will Ramaphosa be South Africa’s president? Some say “never”. – Jackie Cameron
By Liesl Peyper
Cape Town – McDonald’s South Africa confirmed on Tuesday that there was a “process” under way to replace Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa as the current developmental licensee of the fast food chain’s operations in South Africa.
“The potential purchaser, MSA Holdings, is a company based in the United Arab Emirates,” the group said in a statement.
Ramaphosa’s sale of McDonald’s South Africa is in line with a previous statement he had made, saying he would undertake a review of his business interests.
“The proposed transaction,” McDonald’s said, “has recently been approved by the Competition Commission and we can confirm that MSA Holdings is not currently involved in the restaurant business”.
The group didn’t want to comment any further, as all parties to the transaction signed confidentiality agreements.
In March 2011, Ramaphosa, who is the founder of the Shanduka Group, received a 20-year agreement to run 145 McDonald’s restaurants in South Africa. Under the agreement Ramaphosa owned all McDonald’s assets in South Africa, including property.
Shortly after the national government elections in May 2014, Ramaphosa announced that he was divesting from Shanduka to free him up to fulfil his responsibilities as deputy president without the possibility of conflict of interest.
His family’s interests were to be held in blind trusts.
Ramaphosa subsequently entered into an agreement whereby the Pembani Group, led by entrepreneur Phuthuma Nhleko, as well as Ramaphosa’s family trust, Jadeite Limited and Standard Bank, amongs others, combined their interests and created a new black-controlled natural resources and industrial holding group.
Ramphosa’s spokesperson Ronnnie Mamoepa told Fin24 by phone that since Ramaphosa announced his intention to dispose the bulk of his interests he was no longer in a position to comment on these transactions.
Cyril Ramaphosa: The Audio Biography
Listen to the story of Cyril Ramaphosa's rise to presidential power, narrated by our very own Alec Hogg.