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Ramaphosa sells business stakes, creates billion-dollar black-owned company

Is he clearing the way to take over the reins as South Africa’s leader at the next general election? Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa is divesting himself of all his business interests, according to unnamed sources in this Bloomberg news report. He will retain investments in property and McDonald’s South African franchise, the report says. It goes no further than to say he is resolving any residual conflicts of interest since becoming the country’s deputy president. My bet is he is getting his house in order by clearing those conflicts for the next leg of his political revival journey, as he strategically creates a billion-dollar black-owned company along the way. – Marika Sboros

By Chris Spillane and Franz Wild

cyril ramaphosa(Bloomberg) – South African Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa completed negotiations for the sale of most of his business interests to a company led by MTN Group  Chairman Phuthuma Nhleko, creating a billion dollar black-owned company, people familiar with the matter said.

Ramaphosa’s family trust sold his 30% stake in Shanduka Group, the group he founded in 2001 after quitting government when he was beaten to the post of Nelson Mandela’s deputy by Thabo Mbeki, three people said, asking not to be identified because the information hasn’t been made public.

He will retain investments in property and McDonald’s South African franchise.

The combination of of closely held Shanduka and Nhleko’s Pembani Group will create a company with assets of 11 billion rand ($918 million), according to estimates made by the companies last year. After at least a year of negotiations all legal documents have been signed and the transaction is now awaiting approval from regulators, the people said.

Shanduka has stakes in 29 businesses, ranging from Standard Bank Group Ltd., Africa’s biggest lender, to mobile-phone company MTN and a coal-mining venture with Glencore Plc. Ramaphosa’s remaining company shareholdings will he held in blind trusts, his office said last year.

Shanduka spokeswoman Lorraine Jagesar and Pembani spokesman Lufuno Makhari weren’t immediately available when their offices were called. Ronnie Mamoepa, a spokesman for Ramaphosa, declined to comment.

Ramaphosa, 62, re-entered politics in 2012 when he became deputy president of the ruling African National Congress and he became deputy national president last year.

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His divestment completes a promise to resolve any conflicts of interest since becoming the country’s deputy president. Prior to 1994 he formed the country’s biggest labor union, led negotiations that ended apartheid and helped to write South Africa’s democratic constitution.

With a fortune of $550 million Ramaphosa is the country’s second-richest black person after Patrice Motsepe, his brother- in-law, according to the Johannesburg-based Sunday Times newspaper.

Nhleko is the fifth-richest black South African with assets of $142 million, according to the newspaper. He pioneered MTN to become Africa’s biggest mobile-phone operator. Pembani holds a stake in a South African fuel retailer controlled by Malaysia’s Petroliam Nasional Bhd and has investments in companies including the South African coal unit of BHP Billiton Ltd.

As a black-owned company, the new entity, which is yet to be given a name, will benefit from legislation seeking to support black people in business to make up for discrimination under apartheid.

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