South Africa’s Ramaphosa gives half his pay to Mandela charity

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South Africa President Cyril Ramaphosa speaks to the media in Downing Street following a meeting with British Prime Minister Theresa May on April 17, 2018 in London, England. Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Cyril Ramaphosa is popular in business circles

South Africa’s President Cyril Ramaphosa has announced that he will be donating half of his salary to charity.

Mr Ramaphosa said the gesture was aimed at encouraging the wealthy to dedicate some of their pay to help build the nation.

The donation of 1,6m rand ($130,000; £100,000) will be managed by the Nelson Mandela Foundation (NMF).

Mr Ramaphosa is one of South Africa’s richest men, with a fortune of around $450m.

His critics often accuse him of being out of touch with the poor, and he was criticised for bidding more than $2m for a buffalo and her calf in 2012.

Mr Ramaphosa, 65, was a businessman before he became deputy president in 2012.

He held a stake in sectors from telecoms and the media to beverages and fast food – he owned the South African franchise of the US chain, McDonalds).

Speaking in parliament on Wednesday, Mr Ramaphosa said he had decided to make the donation to the NMF in honour of South Africa’s first democratic president, Nelson Mandela.

“This is a private, citizen-driven initiative that will ask all those with the means to contribute a small portion of their salaries to supporting the many small projects that build the nation,” Mr Ramaphosa said.

The fund will be launched on 18 July to mark the 100th anniversary of Mr Mandela’ birth.

Mr Ramaphosa became president in February after Jacob Zuma was forced to resign amid a welter of corruption allegations.

Mineral Resources Minister Gwede Mantashe said in January that Mr Ramaphosa would not be corrupt because he did not need the money.

“He is wealthy, he is rich. If he steals, we will ask him: ‘Why do you steal, because you have enough?'” Mr Mantashe said.

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