All the companies that made Ramaphosa a billionaire

President Cyril Ramaphosa is one of the richest people in South Africa. Although his net wealth is a well-kept secret, Forbes Magazine estimated it to be around R6.4 billion a few years back.

Ramaphosa amassed his billions through black empowerment deals and business interests in numerous top companies.

Before leaving business for politics in 2014, he served for over a decade as MTN chairman and nine years as Bidvest chairman. He was also a non-executive director at Alexander Forbes, Macsteel, SABMiller, and Standard Bank.

His biggest wealth creator was the managed investment company Shanduka Group. The company quickly established itself as a groundbreaking black economic empowerment firm.

As executive chairman of the Shanduka Group, Ramaphosa helped to facilitate investments in mineral resources, energy, real estate, banking, insurance, and telecoms.

Leveraging his experience in the trade union and labour world, which helped hone his skills as a deal-maker, was key to Ramaphosa’s success.

A major moment for the firm came in 2011, when McDonald’s announced Ramaphosa as the new developmental licensee for South Africa, making him responsible for operating all its branches in the country.

Ramaphosa started winding down his business interests shortly after being elected deputy ANC president towards the end of 2012.

He said this was necessary to address any potential conflicts of interest and to ensure that he could adequately perform the responsibilities of his position.

Ramaphosa stepped down from various board positions and sold McDonald’s South Africa to UAE-based MSA Holdings.

He was appointed deputy president of South Africa in May 2014 after Jacob Zuma secured his second term as president.

Former President Jacob Zuma and President Cyril Ramaphosa

Journey back into politics

By 2014, Shanduka was worth more than R20 billion, and the Ramaphosa family’s Tshivhase Trust was its majority shareholder.

In November 2014, Ramaphosa announced his disinvestment from Shanduka. This came through a merger with black-owned investment company Phembani in 2015.

Before this merger, Shanduka had several top South African businesses in its portfolio — including MTN, Standard Bank, Coca-Cola, McDonald’s, Bidvest, Towers, Liberty, Lonmin, and Seacom.

Ramaphosa last declared his interests in Parliament’s annual register of members’ interests in 2017.

In this declaration, he disclosed that he received no remuneration outside his government salary and was not involved in consultancies or retainers.

The only entities he had stakes in were Ntaba Nyoni Estates, Ntaba Nyoni Feedlot, Mondly LTD, and Puma Sports Cars. He also owned 32 townhouses and flats and was listed as a deferred beneficiary for three of five trusts.

Ramaphosa’s business interests recently came under the spotlight after the theft of $580,000 (R9.8 million) in cash from a now-infamous couch at his Phala Phala game farm in Limpopo.

The story was brought to the public’s attention by Zuma-allied spy chief Arthur Fraser, who accused Ramaphosa of a coverup in the lead-up to his bid for re-election as ANC president in 2022.

ANC MPs blocked a Parliamentary investigation into the issue and Acting Public Protector Kholeka Gcaleka found the president did not violate the ethics code for executives by failing to report the incident to the police.

The companies which helped Ramaphosa become a billionaire

The image below shows the companies in which Ramaphosa had a shareholding before his exit from the private sector.

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All the companies that made Ramaphosa a billionaire