Hoe het Ramaphosa so gou opgang gemaak? Maar hy was ook die drywer om ons te vernietig in sy kommissie, met die steun in die huidige Parlement. Liberale blanke vennootskappe uit die verlede… en swart bemagtiging
In Anthony Butler’s 2007 biography, titled Cyril Ramaphosa, the former union boss is characterised as a tireless worker who felt deeply about the exploitation of mine workers. Ramaphosa’s political connections and success in concluding empowerment deals has naturally resulted in allegations that he is a black economic empowerment (BEE) fat cat. Moeletsi Mbeki has described BEE as “buying” black members into the consumer “exploitative club” of established white South African business.
Ramaphosa’s political career is so wrapped up in the NUM that when it was time to vote in the first South African democratic elections on April 27 1994, he did not vote in Soweto, his home ward, but at the first mine at which the NUM had organised, Kloof Gold in Westonaria, Gauteng.
In Butler’s biography, Ramaphosa recalls the moment. “I was stopped by one old miner … who said: ‘We are pleased you are here … I can now go and retire because what we fought for all these years, and what you also came and fought for, has now been attained and I can go and retire, and your coming here shows that you have come home – you belong to us miners.'”
But the question has to be asked: do the working class and the striking miners still feel the same about Ramaphosa in 2012? After all, this is the man who the Sunday Times Rich List named as the second-richest black South African businessperson, after Patrice Motsepe.
The divergence between the two Ramaphosas is distinct, which raises the questions: Who is the Ramaphosa of 2012 and what does he stand for?
The ANC Youth League, which is backing Motlanthe as president of the ANC, last week released a strongly worded statement vilifying Ramaphosa.
It said: “Comrade Cyril Ramaphosa has lost any credibility as a genuine leader of the people and a revolutionary committed to the cause of the working class.”
Blood on his hands
The league said Ramaphosa had “delivered the more than 40 people to their death at Marikana” and accused him of having “blood on his hands”.
The vitriol was intense, although the accusations are hardly based on fact.
Since the youth league is not in the Zuma-Ramaphosa camp, is this genuine outrage or cheap politicking?
Ramaphosa’s response was to state publicly that he would testify before the Farlam commission.
The fact that Ramaphosa finds himself in this position is bizarre; after all, this is the man who effectively built the NUM into the powerful machine it is today.
In 1982 Ramaphosa started a union for mine workers, which was commonly called the NUM. He was elected general secretary, a position he held for the next nine years, until he was elected secretary general of the ANC in June 1991. Under his leadership, the NUM grew from 6 000 in 1982 to 300 000 in 1992.
Ramaphosa was also influential in the setting up of Cosatu in 1985 – an effort through which his relationship with the ANC grew.
In 1994, when Ramaphosa lost out to Mbeki for the position of ANC deputy president, it signalled a massive change in his political future.
But despite some early setbacks Ramaphosa became an empowerment icon, amassing vast amounts of capital from his years in business. Over the years he would secure interests in mining operations, including Lonmin.
Ramaphosa’s political connections and success in concluding empowerment deals has naturally resulted in allegations that he is a black economic empowerment (BEE) fat cat.
Moeletsi Mbeki has described BEE as “buying” black members into the consumer “exploitative club” of established white South African business.
But many of Ramaphosa’s comrades and colleagues point out that his first love was always politics.
Prominent businessperson and Ramaphosa’s former sparring partner at Anglo, Michael Spicer, said: “Cyril’s first love is politics … he is not really interested in business … for him, it’s just a vehicle for the necessary accumulation of wealth.”
Ultimately, the deal struck between the ANC and white capital in South Africa in the late Eighties and early Nineties in which racial ownership was traded for liberal economic conditions is at the heart of the current ructions in the party. Ramaphosa, one of the most easily identifiable beneficiaries of this trade-off, is naturally at the forefront of the debate.
A partnership with the Cyril Ramaphosa led investment vehicle Shanduka Group accounts for a significant portion of Alexander Forbes Equity Holding’s BBBEE credentials.
Alexander Forbes shows a black ownership level of 34.46% and black women ownership level of 8.89%. Once listed on the JSE, Alexander Forbes is controlled by private equity player Actis which bought out minorities and delisted the company in 2007. This leaves the company to claim 100% plus bonus points in the ownership element of the Financial Sector Charter scorecard.
These points are largely explained by the partnership with Shanduka Group Shanduka Group which got a BEE stake in the company in mid 2000s. Alexander Forbes followed up with an employee focused empowerment deal in 2009.
The representation of black people at board level is fair and features Sello Moloko as chairperson. There is also Ramaphosa as nonexecutive director and others David Ngobeni, Modise Mzimba, Jabu Masondo, Lori Hall-Kim, Barend Petersen and Leon Konar. Positioned as a Level Two BBBEE contributor, Alexander Forbes boasts a total BBBEE score of 69.57 against a total of 81 points available in the FSC scorecard.
The group’s BBBEE scorecard incorporates a number of subsidiaries which have their own BBBEE scorecards. These include Investment Solutions (level 3), Guard Risk (Level 3), Alexander Forbes Insurance Company (Level 4) and Alexander Forbes Compensation Technologies (Level Four).