Ramaphosa begins his journey out of business into politics

23rd January 2013 By: Martin Creamer - Creamer Media Editor

JOHANNESBURG (miningweekly.com) – Newly elected African National Congress (ANC) deputy president Cyril Ramaphosa has begun to withdraw from his business commitments in order to remove all potential conflicts of interest as he enters deeper into the South African political arena.

Ramaphosa committed himself to clearing his business decks after the voting slate of which he was part swept the boards at the elective conference of the ANC in Mangaung in December.

The Shanduka executive chairperson said in a media release on Wednesday that he had advised platinum miner Lonmin plc and pulp and paper maker Mondi that he would not seek re-election to their boards at their upcoming annual general meetings (AGMs).

The AGM of Lonmin, where he is nonexecutive director, is scheduled to take place on January 31, and the AGM of Mondi, where he is both joint chairperson and nonexecutive director, is due to take place on May 3.

The withdrawals, Ramaphosa said, would be in line with his announcement that he would review his business interests following his election into the ruling party’s second-most-powerful position after that of ANC president and South African President Jacob Zuma.

“The review of existing positions, responsibilities and obligations is necessary to address any potential conflicts of interest, and to ensure that I can adequately perform the responsibilities of my new position,” Ramaphosa informed Mining Weekly Online in the communiqué.

He said that the review, which required consultation with affected companies and other relevant stakeholders, was ongoing.

“I will make further public statements at the appropriate time,” Ramaphosa promised.

Lonmin chairperson Roger Phillimore described Ramaphosa’s contributions as invaluable and said that the company would miss his "measured but forceful" participation in its affairs.

“On behalf of our shareholders, I would like to convey our very best wishes to him in his new and important role,” Phillimore added in a JSE news service announcement.

Mondi joint chairperson David Williams said that Ramaphosa had helped to guide Mondi through its initial years of listing and played an important role in providing constructive counsel, particularly on issues specific to the South African business environment.

Lonmin said it would immediately start the process of seeking a successor to Ramaphosa.