Cyril Ramaphosa parks his money

2014-06-01 06:00

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South Africa’s new deputy president, Cyril Ramaphosa, has made a point of distancing himself from his business interests to take up his new position?–?but questions still linger about the transparency of the process.

Ramaphosa’s company, Shanduka Group, announced a merger with former MTN chairperson Phuthuma Nhleko’s Pembani.

However, nowhere in the announcement does it say that Ramaphosa has sold any of his investments.

The announcement merely states that this merger “will enable” him “to exit his business interest in Shanduka” to focus on politics. Shanduka will not explain what this means.

The choice to use Nhleko’s Pembani has also raised corporate governance issues and perhaps illustrates the close relationship between Ramaphosa and Nhleko.

Media reports have suggested that Ramaphosa will keep assets that are not regulated by government. This may mean that he will keep Coca-Cola Shanduka Beverages and McDonald’s SA. Shanduka owns 70% of each of these, but this has not been confirmed.

He could also be following former minister Tokyo Sexwale by placing his investments in a blind trust.

According to attorney and tax practitioner Andrew Duncan, technically there is no such thing as a blind trust in South Africa.

However, it is accepted in business practice following trends in the UK and the US.

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