Full name, Matamela Cyril Ramaphosa, he is the fifth and current president of South Africa. Ramaphosa is an interesting figure, with a lot of sides to him. Some know him for his business empire while others remember him for his struggles during the Apartheid Era . Valour Digest presents the five sides of Matamela Cyril Ramaphosa.
- Politician : Cyril Ramaphosa served under the ousted President Jacob Zuma as the deputy president. This is the primary reason some people see his transition as nothing far from the normal. He is seen as part of the establishment by many who think that he didn’t do much as deputy president to correct or temper Zuma’s excesses. But what power does a deputy president really have? That’s the question his admirers keep asking. Cyril Ramaphosa was elected President of African National Congress (ANC) in 2017.
- SkillFul Negotiator: He played a major role in the negotiations that led to the fall of apartheid. In fact, he acted as the chief negotiator for the ANC.
- Apartheid Hero: Ramaphosa’s background as a child who witnessed the crisis in the popular sands of Soweto probably influenced his resolve as an anti-apartheid activist. While at the university, he was a member of the South African Students Organization and the Black People’s Convention. His activities in these bodies led to his arrest and detention in solitary confinement for eleven months in 1974 under Section 6 of the Terrorism Act, for organizing pro-Frelimo rallies. In 1976, he would be detained again for his activities that contributed to the unrest in Soweto.
- Businessman : Ramaphosa is seen as one of the greatest beneficiaries of the current Black rule in South Africa. He has a swath of assets scattered around the country and business interests in major corporations in South Africa. He is the executive chairman of Shanduka Group, a company that is involved in almost all sectors of the economy like energy, real estate, insurance, banking and telecoms. He has interests in MacDonald’s, and has been a non- executive director in large corporations like Macsteel Holdings, Alexander Forbes and Standard Bank. He was once chair of the board of MTN.
- Trade Unionist: Ramaphosa was once on the side of the masses again when he joined the Council of Unions of South Africa as a legal advisor. He was arrested in Lebowa for plans to take part in a meeting banned by the local magistrate. He however went on to build the most powerful trade union in South Africa called National Union of Mineworkers.
Ramaphosa, regardless of his sterling history of activism, is seen as a sell-out by some sections of the trade union in the country. This relates to his stance during the Marikana massacre of August 2012. Police shootings claimed the lives of 35 miners in the Lonmin miners protest. Duiring the Marikana Commision of inquiry, it emerged that the company that caused the death of the miners in the first place solicited the support of Ramaphosa, a shareholder in the company, to crush the protesters.