Cyril Ramaphosa, the president of South Africa, is renowned not just as one of the most prominent politicians in the country but also as one of the wealthiest South Africans. In fact, with a net worth of about $450 million, Ramaphosa is now reported to be the richest politician in South Africa. This is not hard to believe, considering the fact that he has spent years in the spotlight as one of the most vocal activists and trade union leaders in South Africa. Respected as a brilliant strategist, Ramaphosa successfully built the National Union of Mineworkers which now happens to be the biggest and most powerful trade union in the country.
It is noteworthy that even though he has been a politician for a long time, Cyril Ramaphosa did not acquire the bulk of his wealth from politics. This is because, apart from his role in South African politics, he is also an accomplished businessman. As a matter of fact, the president has spent years setting up different businesses and now owns dozens of properties around his country. He has also held different notable positions in important companies in South Africa.
How President Cyril Ramaphosa Acquired His Net Worth Of $450 Million
Like we have mentioned already, President Cyril Ramaphosa is worth an amazing $450 million. This is quite a huge figure which makes him the richest politician in the country, as well as his country’s number one man. Now, the big question is how did he manage to rake in all this wealth?
Let’s take a look below.
Cyril Ramaphosa’s Earnings As A Politician
Before his exploits as a businessman, Cyril Ramaphosa first started out by taking a deep interest in politics. In fact, right from the University of the North in Limpopo where he was studying law in the 1970s, he joined students politics by becoming a member of the South African Students Organisation (SASO). While a member of SASO, he helped to resist apartheid through political action along with other students. Ramaphosa steadily rose through the ranks and soon joined the Council of Unions of South Africa (CUSA) after completing his legal qualifications and obtaining his degree. He then went on to form the National Union of Mineworkers in 1982 following a mandate by CUSA.
After organizing the conference that led to the formation of the Congress of South African Trade Union COSATU), Ramaphosa was elected as the first General Secretary of COSATU in 1985 and held the position for about six years. In 1990, while still the General Secretary of COSATU, Cyril Ramaphosa was named the chairman of the National Reception Committee, which worked to coordinate all the arrangements for the release of anti-apartheid revolutionary, Nelson Mandela and also organized subsequent welcome rallies for the freedom fighter within South Africa. Regarded as a skillful negotiator, Ramaphosa emerged as the main negotiator with the National Party during SA’s transition to democracy.
In 1991, he became the Secretary-General of the African National Congress (ANC). His salary at the time is not known but it is noteworthy that an ANC Secretary-General now earns a cushy R133,000 as monthly salary. Apparently, Ramaphosa’s salary in the 1990s would be a little lower than the current one, but it would be quite impressive as well.
In 1994, following South Africa’s first fully democratic elections, Cyril Ramaphosa became a member of parliament. The politician was elected the chairperson of parliament’s Constitutional Assembly on 24th May 1994 and went on to play a very crucial role in the government of national unity. As a member of parliament and a chairperson in the parliament, Cyril Ramaphosa earned more than R1 million a year.
In 1996, Ramaphosa joined the race for President of South Africa but eventually lost the race to his rival Thabo Mbeki. After this, he decided to resign from his political positions in 1997 and, thereafter, moved to the private sector. In December 2007, after he had debunked several media reports that he was seeking to be elected as President of the ANC, Ramaphoasa was again elected to the ANC National Executive Committee. Years later, on the 18th of December 2012, Ramaphosa was elected as Deputy President of the ANC.
Deputy President Of South Africa
Cyril Ramaphosa became South Africa’s number two man when he was appointed as the Deputy President by the president at the time, Jacob Zuma. Ramaphosa was appointed to take the position on the 25th of May 2014 and was quickly sworn into office the following day by Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng. As Deputy President, Ramaphosa took home more than R2 million annually.
When he became Deputy President, Ramaphosa also became the Leader of Government Business in the National Assembly. In June 2014, Ramaphosa was appointed as Chairman of the National Planning Commission. On the 18th of December 2017, he was elected the president of the ANC at the party’s 54th Elective Conference.
President Of South Africa
On the 14th of February 2018, President Jacob Zuma was forced to resign as President of South Africa following intense pressure from his own party to step down. In the wake of Zuma’s resignation, Cyril Ramaphosa was elected unopposed on 15th February 2018 as President of South Africa by the National Assembly. Consequently, he was administered his oath of office by Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng in the presidential guesthouse, Tuynhuys.
As President of South Africa, Cyril Ramaphosa takes home about R3,900,000 ($265,020) every year. There were high hopes that the situation of things will turn out better with Ramaphosa’s emergence as president and, as if to confirm this, markets rallied strongly the day after he assumed the presidency as stocks rose high and the rand reached its firmest since early 2015.
On the 8th of May 2019, President Ramaphosa and his party, the African National Congress won 57.50% of the vote in the 2019 South African general election which coincided with the country’s celebration of its silver jubilee as a democracy. Ramaphosa was, thus, elected unopposed to his first full term as president on 22 May 2019 by the National Assembly.
Cyril Ramaphosa Made His Biggest Financial Gains As A Businessman
There is no doubt that Cyril Ramaphosa has made some money from politics but the bulk of the wealth he has now accrued came from his business dealings. A very smart man who knows exactly what he wants and goes for it, Ramaphosa has been involved in doing business since the late 1990s. He went on to acquire a stake in nearly every key sector in his country, from the telecommunication sector and the media to mining and beverages and fast food. No wonder he is one of South Africa’s richest men.
Let’s take a look at some of Cyril Ramaphosa’s huge business dealings over the years below.
The Shanduka Group
After resigning from politics in 1997, Cyril Ramaphosa decided to delve into the private sector and do business. First, he became a director at New Africa Investments Limited, a black-empowerment investment holding company. He later decided to set up his own company called the Shanduka Group.
Cyril Ramaphosa founded the Shanduka Group in 2001 and the company was what fetched him a large part of his huge fortune. Ramaphosa established the Shanduka Group as an investment firm that specialized in finance, mining, and inculcated Coca-Cola bottling plants and even McDonald’s outlets.
Shanduka Group, with its wide-ranging interests in telecommunications, extractive resources, food and beverages, financial services, property, energy, and industrial sectors, quickly found its footing and spread abroad with huge investments in Mauritius, Mozambique, Nigeria, and Ghana.
Cyril Ramaphosa served as chairman of Shanduka Group and had the majority shares of 30%. As the company spread its tentacles and found immense success, the more Cyril Ramaphosa raked in more money. By 2014, the Shanduka Group was one the biggest investment companies in South Africa and was making headlines in other countries where it was registered.
When Jacob Zuma appointed him as the Deputy President of South Africa, Ramaphosa decided to take a step back from his business pursuits to avoid conflicts of interest as he was now the number two man in the country. This meant he had to resign from his company. In May 2015, he did exactly that and stepped down as chairman of Shanduka Group. The next year, Ramaphosa completed the process of selling his 30% stake in Shanduka. Shanduka Group later merged with a competitor called the Pembani Group and formed a “Pan African Industrial Holdings Group” with $900 million in assets.
The Shanduka Group has been involved in a scandal. In November 2017, the investment company was accused of working with Investec to dodge taxes meant to be paid on profits that were made from an energy deal in Mozambique by offshoring money to Mauritius.
Apart from founding Shanduka Group, Cyril Ramaphosa was also the Chairman of The Bidvest Group Limited, a South African trading, services, and distribution company that has employed approximately 132,870 people around South Africa and beyond. The Bidvest Group is known to operate in financial services, consumer, pharmaceutical and industrial products, freight management, outsourced hard and soft services, office and print solutions, travel services and automotive retailing.
The exact amount of money Ramaphosa received as Chairman of the Bidvest Group is not known, however, it must be a very substantial amount, considering the size and far-reaching impact of the company.
Cyril Ramaphosa was not just the chairman of The Bidvest Group, he was also the chairman of the MTN Group, a popular South African multinational mobile telecommunications company which currently operates in many African and Asian countries. The telecommunications brand is the most popular in Africa, especially in South Africa and Nigeria, and is an employer of more than 19,000 people.
Ramaphosa became chairman of the MTN Group in 2002 and remained in that position until 2013 when he stepped down. His involvement with the MTN Group undoubtedly fetched Ramaphosa another sizable chunk of his wealth.
Cyril Ramaphosa has also held some non-executive directorship roles in different companies. He was a board member of Macsteel Holdings, a holding company that owns interests mainly in metal processing companies. He was also a board member of Alexander Forbes, a holdings company that is headquartered in Johannesburg, South Africa but has strong presence in as many as six other countries on the African continent and mainly has interests in insurance and financial services.
Ramaphosa was also a board member of the Standard Bank, a popular financial services group that is considered to be Africa’s biggest lender by assets. Ramaphosa was equally a non-executive joint chairman of Mondi, a leading international paper and packaging group. He was appointed joint chairman in March 2007 when Mondi demerged from Anglo American plc.
Cyril Ramaphosa was on the board of SABMiller plc, a multinational brewing and beverage company, but he retired from the board in July 2013. He was also a member of the Coca-Cola Company International Advisory Board, as well as a member of the Unilever Africa Advisory Council.
Ramaphosa was on advisory boards of the AIG Africa Infrastructure Fund and the Sanlam Development Fund. He was also the Deputy Chairman of Reserve Holdings Limited, as well as the Chairman of Johnnic Holdings Limited. He served as the Chairman of the Black Economic Empowerment Commission.
He Ran The McDonald’s Franchise
Apart from all the above, Cyril Ramaphosa ran the McDonald’s franchise in South Africa. In 2011, the businessman took over the McDonald’s fast-food chain in the country after he paid for a 20-year master franchise agreement to run 145 McDonald’s restaurants spread across South Africa. This was a huge move.
However, in 2014, when he became the Deputy President, Cyril revealed he was going to leave his business and face politics for the time being. Consequently, McDonald’s South Africa issued a statement, revealing that a process was underway to find a replacement for Ramaphosa as the licensee of the fast-food chain operation.
Cyril Ramaphosa Is Into Cattle Farming
In addition to all the other business dealings, Cyril Ramaphosa is also a farmer. His interest in farming was ignited in 2004 when he visited Uganda and was fascinated by the Ankole cattle breed he saw there. He decided to start a cattle farm for the Ankole cattle breed.
When he tried to import the Ankole cattle to South Africa, the government denied him permission because of the inadequate disease control measures in Uganda. So, he bought 43 cows from Yoweri Museveni, the Ugandan President, and shipped them to Kenya. While in Kenya, the cows would be artificially inseminated and the embryos removed. They would then be shipped to South Africa and quarantined for two months.
Ramaphosa’s decision to farm the Ankole cattle breed has paid off really well because, as of August 2017, the South African President already had as many as 100 Ankole breeding cows at his Ntaba Nyoni farm in Mpumalanga. Today, he has a lot more.
There is no gainsaying that Cyril Ramaphosa is an astute businessman who is always looking out for the next business opportunity. Over the years, he has gotten involved in different business ventures. It is safe to say that his $450 million net worth is justified.