Cyril Ramaphosa locks assets in trust

Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa’s remaining business interests are to be placed in an independently managed trust in terms of the executive ethics code, says the presidency.

“The code requires that members of the executive dispose of assets that may give rise to a conflict of interest, or place them under the control of professional and independent persons.”

In July this year, President Jacob Zuma granted Ramaphosa a four-month extension to do so.

The 2014 Register of Members’ Interests, tabled at Parliament in September, shows that over and above more than R76 million in company shares, the former trade unionist and businessman also owns 30 townhouses, all in Johannesburg, and two flats in Cape Town.

But it is the financial interests reflected only in the confidential section of the document that suggest what is declared in the public section is just the tip of a vast wealth pyramid.

These shareholdings are kept confidential for the reason that they are held together with private individuals. Openly declaring the value of Ramaphosa’s holdings would reveal the value of theirs.

The public section of the register reflects a range of directorships and partnerships Ramaphosa retains, but puts no rand value on his involvement in these, for the same reason that it could reveal the financial rewards others involved draw from the same enterprise.

Ramaphosa resigned from a host of business positions after his election as deputy president of the ANC in December 2012.

Earlier this year, he asked Zuma for a four-month extension to wrap up his divestment from business where he believed his continued involvement would create a conflict of interest.

The presidency today said Ramaphosa had disposed of his shareholding in the Shanduka Group, an investment holding company with assets in a number of “regulated” industries, such as resources and energy.

“It should be noted that certain elements of the disposal are dependent on regulatory approval,” it said.

Ramaphosa’s remaining business interests, all in “unregulated” sectors, were being placed in a trust managed by independent and professional persons.

“The deputy president will not give any instructions with respect to the management of these interests for the duration of his term in office, save for the purposes of complying with a legal requirement, or to give instructions to sell such interest.”

Ramaphosa would accordingly update his disclosure of financial interests to Parliament and to Cabinet.

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