Who is Cyril Ramaphosa? A profile of the new leader of the ANC

South Africa’s governing party, the African National Congress (ANC), has a new president – Cyril Ramaphosa. But who is he?

Ramaphosa cuts a fitting figure to take over government, stabilise the economy, and secure the constitutional architecture that he helped create at the end of apartheid.

But to expect more would be expecting too much. He is unlikely to veer far from the traditional economic path chosen by the ANC.

There are some important features we can draw on to make some conjectures about the man.

The early days
Ramaphosa was born in Johannesburg, the industrial heartland of South Africa, on November 17, 1952. The second of three children, his father was a policeman. He grew up in Soweto where he attended primary and high school. He later went to Mphaphuli High School in Sibasa, Limpopo, were he was elected head of the Student Christian Movementsoon after his arrival, attesting to his Christian beliefs.

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He studied law at the then University of the North (Turfloop), where he became active in the South African Students Organisation, which was aligned to black consciousness ideology espoused by Steve Biko. He became active in the University Student Christian Movement, which was steeped in the liberation black theology of the black consciousness movement.

After graduating with a degree in law, Ramaphosa continued his political activism through the Black People’s Convention, for which he was jailed for six months. He went on to serve articles and joined the Council of Trade Unions of South Africa which was to form the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) with Ramaphosa as its first secretary general. He helped built the NUM into the largest trade union in the country, serving as its secretary general for just over 10 years.

Business and politics
His prominence and public stature grew even more when he was elected secretary general of the ANC in 1991. He went on to play a key role during South Africa’s transition, becoming one of the key architects of the country’s constitutional democracy.

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Under the auspices of the Convention for a Democratic South Africa (Codesa), he became the ANC’s lead negotiator during negotiations on a post-apartheid arrangement.

Following this, he led the ANC team in drawing up a new constitution for the country. It is now considered one of the most progressive constitutions in the world.

In 1994 Ramaphosa lost the contest to become President Nelson Mandela’s deputy. Having Thabo Mbeki appointed instead was a blow, but persuaded by Mandela, Ramaphosa went into business.

For the next two decades Ramaphosa put his energies into building a large investment holding company Shanduka with interests in sectors ranging from mining to fast foods. The success of the group confirmed his reputation as a skilled dealmaker and negotiator.

During this 20-year period in business, Ramaphosa established deep links in the private sector in South Africa.

This set him at odds with sections of the ANC which believe that the post-apartheid arrangements delivered political power, but not economic freedom. These voices have become louder under President Jacob Zuma’s presidency with calls for radical economic transformation and action to tackle white monopoly capital.

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Ramaphosa will have his work cut out for him as he tries to accommodate these demands by driving a more inclusive social compact in the country while simultaneously trying to manage rampant corruption in the private and public sectors.

Road to presidency
Even during his years in business Ramaphosa remained close to the ANC, serving as a member of the national disciplinary committee.

But he made his major comeback onto the political scene at the ANC’s 2012 elective conference in Mangaung, Bloemfontein where he was elected deputy president of the ANC, and later of the country.

Two years prior to this Ramaphosa became deputy chairman of the state-run National Planning Commission. He presided over its diagnostic report, which set out the problems facing the country in clear terms. A plan was drawn up to provide answers to the challenges identified in report. Known as the National Development Plan, it was tabled as a blue print for the type of society South Africa could become.

The plan showed Ramaphosa’s strengths as an architect of social compacts.

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Since its tabling the plan has been left to gather dust. But it remains a point of reference, and serves as a counterpoint to calls for radical economic transformation.

Ramaphosa is likely to emphasise stability – in government and the ANC. Given his history he is likely to want to stabilise the economy rather than to pursue radical interventions.

Ramaphosa has a personal interest to secure a stabilising social compact akin to the one he negotiated in 1994 given developments that have left the country economically and socially weaker. These have included allegations that parts of the state have been taken over by corrupt civil servants and some private sector interests, high levels of unemployment and increasingly fractious public debates.

Not surprisingly during his campaign trail he moulded his image on the sanctity of the rule of law and on the dictum that social stability hinges on respect of the rule of law.

The big question mark over Ramaphosa is how effective he will be. Although he’s been the deputy president of the ANC and of the country for five years, some believe that his influence has been minimal and that he has not been able to imprint his leadership on the party – or the country.

Will he be able to impose his will on those he now leads? Ramaphosa will be presiding over officials who have big personalities and have enjoyed long periods of political power. They are used to leading, not following.

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Home Affairs to phase out green ID books – but rubbishes March deadline claim

The Department of Home Affairs has reiterated that it has no immediate plans to discontinue green bar-coded identity books.

Speaking at the Centurion Home Affairs office on Wednesday, director-general of Home Affairs, Mkuseli Apleni, said that the department was deeply concerned about false reports on the lifespan of the old ID books.

“These reports, which first appeared towards the end of 2017, masquerade as a notice from the Department of Home Affairs (DHA), and claim that 31 March 2018 is the termination date for using the old green-barcoded ID books. This had an effect of driving citizens, in great numbers, to Home Affairs offices to apply for smart ID cards in panic,” he said.

“At the time, we had responded swiftly to say such reports are false, and do not come from us. We are again confronted with the same incorrect reports, from the beginning of January 2018, circulating largely on social media.”

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In a similar statement released in November, Home Affairs said that it wished to make it clear that the green barcoded ID book remains a legal form of identification and will continue to be until such time that the Live Capture System is rolled out to all Home Affairs offices to enable South Africans to apply for Smart ID cards at their nearest offices.

“The department has developed a plan to systematically phase out the green ID book and ultimately consolidate the restoration, common citizenship, identity and dignity to South Africans,” it said at the time.

Improving roll-out

Apleni said that when Home Affairs began the roll-out of smart ID cards in July 2013, its data showed that 38 million people were in possession of the old green books.

Following this, it conducted a number of studies so that it could set out a strategy for a smooth roll-out. “For instance we knew that one workstation can handle 28 card applications per day,” Apleni said.

“It takes 17 minutes on average to finalise the capturing of an application. On average, an office with 3 computers is expected to take in 84 applications per day. We were therefore able to estimate how many cards we could produce at a given time with the number of automated offices we had, that were equipped with live capture.”

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“As a result, when we started, we had invited first time applicants and senior citizens to be the first to apply for smart ID cards, free of charge. This was based on our capacity at the time,” he said.

“For example, Centurion has only five workstations for this task, therefore in line with our norm, it can only produce 140 cards per day.

“With more offices, with automated systems, and reinforced by 14 bank branches on eHomeAffairs, we proceeded to extend coverage to other sections of the population, which sections, unlike first time applicants, had some form of identification, in the form of the green-barcoded ID books,” he said.

Apleni said that 184 of its 411 offices currently have live capture systems which can process applications for smart ID cards and passports, with 227 offices are still to be modernized. In addition, Home Affairs is currently in discussions with participating banks to increase capacity through additional bank branches.

“We are working on getting our systems fully automated, and are also developing a mobile solution to support the rollout of smart ID cards. Between 2013 and 2017, we were able to reach the seven million milestone on smart cards issued. With the 38 million people we had to cover, it should be clear these messages making the rounds, about March 2018, are devoid of truth, and should therefore be ignored,” he said.

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ANC NEC sharpen their knives, ramp up efforts to dismiss Zuma

He may have had a reprieve earlier in the week, but Jacob Zuma can consider himself on the ANC NEC hit-list.

The party’s National Executive Committee are determined to force Mr Zuma out of his Head of State role, according to City Press sources. He may have stood down as ANC President, but he still remains the leader of South Africa.

Jacob Zuma living on borrowed time as President
However, the NEC are determined to completely oust him from leadership. It was widely believed that a committee meeting on Wednesday would table plans to force Zuma out, but they eventually decided against upsetting the apple-cart on the eve of the ANC’s 106th birthday celebrations. This was confirmed by an ANC insider:

“There was a view that there was no point in upsetting the January 8 events. It would also be seen as opportunistic on Cyril’s part, and there is no guarantee as to how Zuma supporters would respond.”

With the event in East London drawing to a close, no stumbling blocks remain in the way of the ANC NEC, who are reportedly ready to push ahead with ‘Zumexit’. Our Jacob was soundly booed by a large number of ANC delegates when his name was announced during Saturday’s proceedings.

JZ may have even bough himself a little more time by appointing Raymond Zondo as the lead judge in the state capture inquiry. A right hand man to Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng, Zondo is seen as a progressive choice. But, as always with Zuma, there’s an ulterior motive.

When will the ANC NEC attempt to remove Zuma?
By appearing to comply with an ANC directive, it puts fuel in the tank of his defence to stay on. Had he delayed or tried to circumvent the order to appoint a fair and impartial judge, that certainly would’ve been stronger grounds for divorce.

The ANC NEC next meet at a lekgotla on Thursday 18 January, where the issue of Zuma’s future will most likely be discussed. The party’s top brass could decide to recall the President, or hammer out a resignation deal to help him out of the door, rather than booting him out of it.

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The 30 UK job markets that are almost ‘restriction-free’ for South Africans

If you’re an expert in one of these fields, you can work in the UK with barely any limitations.

If you watch a certain reality show, then you’ll already know that South Africa’s Got Talent. However, an exceptional set of skills can do more than impress a set of judges these days. It can earn you a Tier 1 visa for the UK and its job markets.

This is confirmed by Sable International’s blog. The ‘exceptional talent’ visa is a special qualification that allows the best and brightest to live and work in Britain with minimum fuss.

Areas like humanities, engineering, science, medicine, digital development and the arts are crying out for masters of their crafts, and South Africans are free to apply.

What is the Tier 1 visa?
The Tier 1 visa allows you to be employed, self-employed, or work as a director. It also lets you travel freely in and out of the UK, and gives you the privilege of bringing family members to the country too.

In fact, the limitations are incredibly specific: The only people who can’t apply for a Tier 1 are trainee doctors and dentists, or professional sports coaches. Britain’s Home Secretary Amber Rudd announced the government were doubling the amount of these visas available back in November 2017, creating a real opportunity for foreign workers to establish themselves in Blighty.

This exceptional talent visa gives applicants an automatic five-year stay. Once your five years come to an end, you can apply for an indefinite leave to remain – a perfect name for UK residency, in the wake of Brexit.

What UK job markets allow you to work on the Tier 1?
There are seven ruling bodies that will decide if you have what it takes to work on the Tier 1 visa. The job markets available all fall under the following’s jurisdiction:

Can you see your occupation on this list of 30 here? If so, you’re more than welcome to try your luck in the UK. As a change in immigration policy creates a potential ‘brain-drain’ scenario, you could be ushered in as a expert for the following areas…

Jobs available in the UK on the Tier 1 visa:

Active researchers in a relevant scientific field and have a PhD or equivalent research experience

* Mechanical engineering
* Process engineering
* Civil engineering
* Biomedical engineering
* Innovation and policy engineering
* Electrical engineering
* Information communication technology engineering

Humanities and social science
* Philosophy
* Anthropology and geography
* Economics
* Sociology
* Psychology
* Political studies
* Law

* Anatomy
* Clinical medicine
* Biochemistry
* Anyone who demonstrates exceptional promise in their respective field, or those who have already exhibited exceptional talent through research or innovation in the medical field

Digital work
* Programmers
* Developers
* Anyone involved in the business of digital technology
* The arts

* Dance
* Music
* Theatre
* Visual arts (including museums and galleries)
* Literature
* Combined arts

Any person whose work has been published, performed, presented, distributed or exhibited internationally and you are able to provide evidence thereof.

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Discover the magic of spectacular Zermatt in the Swiss Alps

We feel the train engage the cogs as it rattles its way up the steep incline. Outside the wide windows, we pass rocky canyons, pine-covered mountain slopes and wildflower-covered meadows. My wife and I are comfortable and warm but outside the snowy white peaks are wrapped with cloud.

The train crawls through tunnels and across high bridges then pulls into a station. This is the end of the line. We have arrived in Zermatt.

The Swiss mountain village of Zermatt is one of the great ski and climbing centres of the world. Nestled in a deep valley enclosed between steeply scarped mountains, it is dominated by the dramatic, gracefully curved pyramid of the 4478 metre-high Matterhorn.

I first ‘discovered‘ Zermatt 40 years ago and declared it one of my favourite places in the world. I have been reluctant to go back and must say that I am initially disappointed in what I see. I want Zermatt to be the same as it was but, of course, it is not.

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The village has grown enormously, the colourful horse and carts have been replaced by electric vehicles and there is construction going on everywhere. However, from the moment we step off the train and catch sight of the cobbled streets, the cute chalets and the towering mountains, we know we are in a special place.

The main street bustles happily with pedestrians but we delight in exploring some of the tiny (and romantic) cobbled alleyways off to the side, where we find ancient sun browned barns and traditional chalets.

There are cosy restaurants everywhere and menus with prices are normally posted outside. Despite Zermatt’s popularity, despite its growth, it is still only a village, open and friendly, where people from around the world seem to mix happily in the streets, restaurants and bars.

With over 13,000 visitor beds, this is very much a tourist town. It is here because of the mountains. The Matterhorn, standing alone at the head of the valley is overwhelming but Zermatt is encircled by a famous ring of mountains over 4000 metres high.

Zermatt is renowned as one of the best ski resorts in the European Alps and is the favoured place to ski by many skiers who come here from all over the world.

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There are mountain railways and cable cars to take you up into the high wilderness in summer then you can ramble back down to the village. Along the way, you will find numerous mountain restaurants where you can sip a cold drink or a hearty lunch and enjoy the spectacular views of the Matterhorn.

A highlight for just about everyone is the Gornergrat, a cog railway that winds its way up the mountain to an altitude of 3089 metres. It provides magnificent panoramas along the way.

Another is Glacier Paradise / Klein Matterhorn, the highest place in Switzerland (3883 m) able to be reached by a cableway, with a viewing platform and the highest glacier palace in the world.

You arrive at the glacier by lift directly from the Matterhorn Glacier Paradise station. You then walk into the palace through an ice tunnel that is almost fifteen metres below the surface of the glacier. Adventurers and daredevils can return by walking through a glacier crevasse. Both the railway and the cable car leave from Zermatt village.

Summer visitors can explore Gorner Gorge where a footpath across narrow bridges takes visitors through the deeply scarped gorge. Also in summer you can mountain-bike ride over gravel and stones, through larch and Swiss pine forests, on single trails all with a magnificent mountain backdrop. Each trail covers an average of 1,000 metres of altitude.

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The best accommodation in Zermatt is probably the Mont Cervin Palace. It is in the heart of the village and stands out with its attractive south-façade and roof with numerous turrets. The hotel’s red horse-drawn carriage is an ever popular photo.

There is excellent cuisine at the restaurant-dining room, Grill Le Cervin, and the hotel has a large indoor swimming pool and an outdoor pool, sauna, and large patio. Expect to pay €600/night.

We stayed at Tasch about seven kilometres away where we could drive the car right to the hotel. We then took the Zermatt Shuttle train to Zermatt for the day. This worked well and good accommodation was only €100/night.

If we had more time we would have taken the Glacier Express from Zermatt to St.Moritz. We saw the train with its panoramic windows and silver service meals and were suitably impressed.

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It is an eight-hour trip through untouched mountain landscapes, glamorous health resorts, deep gorges, delightful valleys, 91 tunnels and across 291 impressive bridges. Prices start from around €150.


Zermatt is ‘auto-free’ to prevent air pollution so you can’t drive into the village, but you can get here by cog railway train or taxi from the nearby village of Täsch, (7kms away). Trains also depart for Zermatt from further down the valley at Visp and Brig.

South African nationals require a Schengen visa to enter Switzerland.

There are flights from South Africa and the United Kingdom to Zurich in Switzerland then you can travel by train to Zermatt.

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Travelling? Here’s a list of visas you may need before you go

In order to ensure you can enter a country without any issues, here’s a breakdown of visas around the world which you may need at some point during your travels.

Depending on where in the world you plan to travel, you may need a visa. If that isn’t complicated enough, the visa you require varies from place to place, and country to country.

Travelling to the United States of America
The Visa Waiver Program and obtaining a USA visa is a process that confuses many. Most passport holders can obtain an Electronic System for Travel Authorisation (ESTA) through the Visa Waiver Programme. This programme allows travel to the US for up to 90 days for journeys related to tourism, specific types of business visits and transfers to another country.

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Travelling from the UK, you will more than likely qualify to enter the United States of America, providing your British passport describes your nationally as a ‘British Citizen’ and is an ePassport. You will also have to receive genuine authorisation from ESTA, and have not travelled to Iran, Libya, Somalia, Iraq, Syria, Yemen or Sudan since March 2011.

Travelling to the United Kingdom
Travelling to the United Kingdom is a bit less complicated. While citizens of most, if not all nations, receive a visa waiver upon arrival in England, it is unlikely you’ll need any additional documents –other than your passport, of course! But, if you wish to drive or rent a car in England, you must have your unique state-issued license with you in order to do so.

Travelling to Australia
Depending on the reasons why you want to visit Australia, you will need one of several different types of visa. But no matter what, there are a number of important things you should know, such as the requirements for the relevant via application, obligations and how to comply with the conditions of your Australian visa. If you want to study, work or even live in Australia there are additional different requirements that you will need to meet in order to do so, such as being employed in one of the approved professions on the Skilled Occupation List.

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Business Travel Visas around the world
In some countries, you will require a business visa in order to travel to the country for business-related reasons. This is especially important for those who are seeking to travel to the US for a short duration for a business trip that doesn’t require actual labour to be carried out throughout the duration of their stay.

On the other hand, those wanting to visit the UK on business simply need to apply for a Standard Visitor Visa. It doesn’t matter whether the visit to the UK is for a meeting, conference or training purposes, if you visit the UK on business you need to apply for a Standard Visitor visa up to 3 months in advance before you travel.

Long-Term Visit Visas around the world
In most countries, if you are able to prove that you need to visit a certain country regularly over the next 2, 5 or 10 years you can apply for a long-term visit visa. Even though most long-term visit visas allow you to stay for a maximum of 24 weeks (or 6 months) per visit they are still expensive, in the likes of the UK a 10-year visit visa will cost you £767.00. And for a shorter 2-year long-term visit visa, you can expect to pay £337.00.

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Die storie van Chris Barnard – HARTSTOG

Vyftig jaar ná die eerste hart suksesvol van een mens na ’n ander oorgeplant is, kan jy nou in ’n nuwe dokudrama oor die menslike intrige rondom die gebeure van 3 Desember 1967 sien presies hoe dié groot mediese mylpaal bereik is.

Deon Opperman, die draaiboekskrywer, vertel in Hartstog drie parallelle verhale: Eerstens, dié van die Washkansky-familie, wat dringend wag op ’n skenkerhart vir Louis; die Darvall-gesin, wat as gevolg van ’n tragiese ongeluk ’n dogter aan die dood afstaan, en dr Chris Barnard en die span by die hospitaal wat die hart help oorplant

André Velts is die regisseur aan die stuur van dié dokudrama, wat ook ’n sterbelaaide rolverdeling insluit. Die bekroonde akteur Carel Nel staan in die skoene (en teaterklere) van dr Chris Barnard, terwyl sy vrou Aletta deur Quinne Brown gespeel word. Jacques Bessenger vertolk die rol van dr Barnard se sjirurg-broer, Marius.

As jy nog altyd meer wou weet oor die eerste hartoorplanting, maak seker jy kyk Hartstog op ShowMax. Dis ’n verhaal van hartstogtelike passie, gebreekte harte en hoop wat uiteindelik lig werp op ’n stuk trotse Suid-Afrikaanse geskiedenis wat die wêreld verander het.

Hier is ‘n voorskou vir jou wat jy kan verwag:

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Nine reasons why a Table Mountain Cable Card is a must in Cape Town

You can dodge the tourist queues in summer, take up special offers at the top and even surprise a loved one with a magic green card that makes the iconic summit your own for a whole year.

Avoid the pesky tourists
Cape Town 101, right? From being decapitated by a huge, swinging camera lens to being poked in the eye by the corner of one of those massive maps – it’s a nightmare in peak season.

Even if you’re a tourist yourself, the R640 annual pass (R325 for a child) will allow you to walk past your fellow queuing travellers with an ill-gotten sense of superiority.

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It’s your dodgy weather safety net
So you’ve hiked up and are setting about a lovely wander around the mountain top, taking in those gobsmacking views of the Cape. Then the wind picks up, the clouds roll in and the end looks nigh.

But wait! Scramble to the cable station, flash your card like a pro and you won’t have to risk life and limb like Edmund Hillary on Everest.

See the sun set
Surprise your squeeze (or someone else of your choosing, if you must – we’re not judging) with a glide up to the summit and a glass of something nice while you watch the sun dip down into the Atlantic Ocean.

On your own? Well make it two glasses then.

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You’re supporting an iconic Cape Town landmark
Did you know the cableway has been running since 1929? And can you imagine what kind of terrifying contraption was transporting people up and down back then?

Anyway, getting on for one million people make the pilgrimage every year to scale of of the planet’s most recognisable summits. They can’t all be wrong.

There’s more chance to explore up top
When you’ve just clambered to the Platteklip Gorge summit with all the zeal of a broken down badger with bronchitis, you’re not exactly going to be up for exploring what’s on offer.

Zip up in the cable car, however, and you can wander about with your joie de vivre in tact. Try the trail to Maclear’s Beacon or take advantage of a guided tour of the flora and fauna.

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You’re saving precious water
As Cape Town runs dry every drop counts right now. No lecturing here, but put it this way: if your party of six saves on all that drinking water required by hiking up and down, you could pool that (wahey!) when you return home and share half a bath. You know it makes sense.

There are hidden bonuses to be had
Discounts can be yours at the Shop at the Top and at the Table Mountain Cafe (also at the top, but they didn’t want to overdo the naming thing).

“What are they?” we hear you ask. You’ll have to hit the summit and find out for yourself, otherwise they wouldn’t be ‘hidden bonuses’. Or just email them. They do email.

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All of the fresh air, none of the exercise!
Now some may call this negative, but let’s get real: loads of us just can’t be bothered.

While everyone else bounds up and down the mountain face shrowded in fluorescent running paraphernalia, you can nip up and down in your sandles and be back on Kloof Street in time for a thoroughly unhealthy lunch.

It doesn’t even have to be for you
Switch the Birthday card for a Cable Card and treat someone you care about to the trip of a lifetime, not as a once-off but for every single day of the following year. If they’d like that sort of commitment, obviously.

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