Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa. Photo: GCIS

THE GOVERNMENT has given Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa four more months to decide whether he needs to sell or place under administration his remaining stakes in businesses to avoid violating conflict-of-interest rules.

Ramaphosa could “dispose of any financial or business interests that may give rise to a conflict of interest when performing his functions”, President Jacob Zuma said in an e-mailed statement. Or, he could “place administration of such interests under the control of an independent and professional person or agency”.

Ramaphosa built his wealth after leaving politics in 1996 by buying stakes in companies such as Lonmin and Standard Bank. He founded the country’s largest labour union, the National Union of Mineworkers, in the 1980s and was the head of talks for the ANC to end apartheid.

To comply with ethics rules after becoming the deputy president in May, he agreed to swop holdings in regulated companies like Standard Bank and MTN for stakes in consumer-goods companies like the local McDonald’s franchise.

Ramaphosa has come under criticism for his role as a non-executive director at Lonmin two years ago, when police officers killed 34 striking miners.