Deputy President Matamela Cyril Ramaphosa was born on 17 November 1952 in Johannesburg. His family was moved from Western Native Township to Soweto in 1962, where he attended Tshilidzi Primary School. He completed his high school at Mphaphuli High School in Sibasa, Venda in 1971.
He began his studies at the University of the North in 1972, where he became involved in student politics, joining the South African Student Organisation (SASO) and the Black People’s Convention (BPC).
Deputy President of the Republic
Mr Ramaphosa was appointed by President Jacob Zuma as Deputy President of the Republic of South Africa on 25 May 2014.
In terms of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa the Deputy President is appointed to assist the President in the execution of the functions of Government.
During this term of office, in addition to any other functions that the President may assign, the Deputy President has the following responsibilities:
1. Chairperson of the Human Resource Development Council of South Africa;
2. Chairperson of the South African National Aids Council;
3. Champion of social cohesion initiatives;
4. Coordination of anti-poverty and short-term job creation programmes;
5. Promotion of dialogue on wage inequalities and labour stability among social partners;
6. Leader of Government Business in Parliament;
7. Champion of the institutionalisation of best-practice models in the Public Service;
8. Overseeing the transformation of state-owned enterprises;
9. Overseeing the turnaround of South African Airways, electricity utility Eskom and the South African Post Office;
10. International engagement in support of South Africa’s foreign policy and international cooperation objectives.
The Deputy President was detained in 1974 for organising pro-Frelimo rallies that were held to celebrate the independence of Mozambique. He was detained for the second time in 1976 following the Soweto student uprising.
He became the first general secretary of the National Union of Mineworkers in 1982. In 1991, he was elected African National Congress (ANC) Secretary General and subsequently became head of the ANC team that negotiated the transition to democracy.
Following the country’s first democratic elections in 1994, he was elected chairperson of the Constitutional Assembly, which wrote South Africa's new democratic constitution.
He moved into the private sector in 1996, and in 2001 founded Shanduka Group, a diversified investment holding company. He resigned from Shanduka in 2012 following his appointment as Deputy President of South Africa.
Mr Ramaphosa holds a law degree from the University of South Africa. He has received several honorary doctorates from local and international universities. He received the Olof Palme prize in Stockholm in 1987. He was awarded the National Order of the Baobab in Silver in 2009 for his contribution to the multiparty negotiations and for chairing the Constitutional Assembly. He was also the Deputy Chairperson of South Africa’s National Planning Commission.
In December 2012, he was elected Deputy President of the ruling African National Congress.