Cyril Ramaphosa has quit as chairman of Shanduka Group. Photo: Sizwe Ndingane

Johannesburg - Cyril Ramaphosa was quitting the R8.8 billion company that he founded as he focused on politics, the man who will replace him as the chairman of Shanduka Group said.

The 61-year-old former union leader, who accepted the post of deputy president of the ANC in December 2012, would also probably need to sell his 29.6 percent stake in the company, James Motlatsi, who will become chairman of the group, said on Monday.

Shanduka holds stakes in platinum mines owned by Lonmin, mines coal in a venture with Glencore Xstrata and controls the McDonald’s franchise in South Africa.

“Cyril has left… and he will no longer play a leading role within this company,” Motlatsi said. “I believe Cyril will… have to divest. If his share is bought, that should be by a black consortium, because we want to remain a black-controlled company.”

Ramaphosa resuscitated his political career when he secured the second top post in the ANC, and is frontrunner to become South Africa’s deputy president after elections that are due to take place by July. Last year he resigned from the boards of companies including MTN, Lonmin and Standard Bank after initiating a review of his business interests to address possible conflicts of interest.

He quit politics for business in 1996 after earlier losing the contest to become the first post-apartheid deputy president under Nelson Mandela to Thabo Mbeki, who became president in 1999. Ramaphosa led the ANC delegation that negotiated an end to apartheid with the then ruling National Party before the 1994 democratic elections.

Ramaphosa was named on Tuesday in second position on the ANC’s list of parliamentary candidates.

“Cyril is deciding to step back into politics with both feet,” Sinethemba Zonke, a political analyst at africapractice, said. “We may see him taking a lot more control over policies in the country.”

Ramaphosa founded Shanduka in 2001, building it into an enterprise with stakes in 29 businesses in five countries now worth R8.8bn on a net asset value basis, according to Phuti Mahanyele, Shanduka’s chief executive. That would value the stake owned by Ramaphosa’s Tshivhase Trust at about R2.6bn.

Motlatsi, unlike Ramaphosa, will serve in a non-executive role. – Bloomberg