Avoiding conflicts of interest should come naturally to anyone – Ramaphosa

ANC deputy president Cyril Ramaphosa is reviewing his role in business to ensure there are no conflicts of interest with his new role, he has said.

“I want to remove any form of conflictual situation with my role as deputy president of the ANC,” Ramaphosa said in an interview on CNBC Africa’s Political Exchange yesterday.

He described his election to the post as “a life-changing event”, but added that avoiding such conflicts should come naturally to anyone.

Since the African National Congress’s elective conference held in Mangaung last month, the party would make an effort to work with private enterprise.

“The ANC has consciously decided that it does want to interact with all institutions in the South African space, that includes business. I want them to be proactive... business should not be bystanders.”

Ramaphosa, who is chairman of the Shanduka Group among other business interests, denied he represented business in the party’s national executive committee.

Talking about problems facing the mining sector, Ramaphosa said while wages and living and working conditions had improved since apartheid, more needed to be done to improve the lives of mineworkers.

“I’m glad to say, employers, unions and various other entities are alive to that.”

Ramaphosa reiterated that he would be willing to testify about the strike-related violence at Marikana before the Farlam Commission of Inquiry, should he be called upon to do so.

He denied that an e-mail he sent prior to the deaths of 34 striking Lonmin miners at Marikana on August 16, in which he suggested “concomitant action”, was a call for a violent response.

Instead, Ramaphosa said he was concerned, in the wake of 10 strike-related deaths the preceding week, as to how further loss of life could be avoided.

This was informed by his previous role as general secretary of the National Union of Mineworkers.

“I could never abandon the impact that workers have had on me. [I could] never ever face a situation where I would say ’take action against these workers’.

“I did say I was trying to prevent further loss of life,” Ramaphosa said.

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