Cyril re­jects state house

Deputy pres­i­dent prefers to stay home in Hyde Park in­stead of mov­ing to Pre­to­ria

CityPress - - News - CAI­PHUS KGOSANA cai­phus.kgosana@city­press.co.za

As the deputy pres­i­dent of the coun­try, Cyril Ramaphosa gets ex­clu­sive use of a se­cure, Vic­to­rian-style man­sion in Pre­to­ria as his of­fi­cial res­i­dence. But the bil­lion­aire politi­cian ap­pears re­luc­tant to move out of his plush home in Hyde Park, one of Joburg’s wealth­i­est sub­urbs. Ramaphosa lives in a nar­row street in the sub­urb and counts IT ty­coon Robert Gumede as one of his neigh­bours. When City Press drove past his house on Wed­nes­day evening last week, the pave­ment op­po­site was lined with six Gaut­eng free­way pa­trol mo­tor­cy­cles, a num­ber of Gaut­eng free­way pa­trol cars and two po­lice VIP unit ve­hi­cles. The po­lice of­fi­cers were stand­ing be­hind one of the cars, eat­ing their take­away din­ners.

Ramaphosa is as­signed a com­pre­hen­sive se­cu­rity de­tail, which in­cludes per­ma­nent guards at his home and the in­stal­la­tion of a guard­house. He moves with a larger con­voy of ve­hi­cles than or­di­nary min­is­ters be­cause he has more VIP pro­tec­tion of­fi­cers.

Although those who live near Ramaphosa speak highly of him as a “quiet, un­der­stated and very good neigh­bour”, his con­voy has caused some traf­fic may­hem in the morn­ings.

“They just stop traf­fic. Of­ten you have to sit and wait for up to 10 min­utes,” said one neigh­bour. “Some­times there are eight to 10 cars and a whole bunch of mo­tor­bikes with him. It’s so in­sane – it’s ab­so­lutely nuts.”

Ramaphosa said he was un­aware of any com­plaints from his neigh­bours.

“If any­one has been in­con­ve­nienced, I am cer­tainly ready to see what can be done to ad­dress their con­cerns,” he said through his spokesper­son Ron­nie Mamoepa.

Mamoepa said Ramaphosa pre­ferred to use his pri­vate home be­cause his fam­ily – in­clud­ing his wife Dr Tshepo Mot­sepe and some of their four chil­dren – still live there.

Mamoepa said two neigh­bours with en­trances near Ramaphosa’s gate had been “un­der­stand­ing” and “ac­com­mo­dat­ing, and re­late well with the se­cu­rity de­tail”.

Although many in the im­me­di­ate vicin­ity of Ramaphosa’s house say the hefty VIP pro­tec­tion he re­ceives is ad­di­tional se­cu­rity for them, oth­ers aren’t feel­ing it.

Another neigh­bour spoke of a drug dealer who op­er­ates on a street cor­ner a block away from Ramaphosa’s house, sell­ing drugs to driv­ers who pull up for only a minute. But lo­cal po­lice spokesper­son, War­rant Of­fi­cer Moses Maphakela, said the po­lice had not re­ceived any com­plaints of drug deal­ing in Hyde Park.

The area’s for­mer ward coun­cil­lor, DA MP Gor­don Mackay, said although he had not re­ceived any com­plaints about Ramaphosa’s mo­tor­cade, there had been neigh­bour­hood gos­sip about how the City of Jo­han­nes­burg’s wa­ter truck would go to just his home dur­ing the sub­urb’s fre­quent wa­ter out­ages. “I asked the city about it at the time, but they didn’t come back to me,” Mackay said.

There was ini­tially con­fu­sion about whether the deputy pres­i­den­tial res­i­dence in Pre­to­ria, OR Tambo House, was avail­able to Ramaphosa – for­mer deputy pres­i­dent Kgalema Mot­lanthe had two months to move out, ac­cord­ing to the Min­is­te­rial Hand­book. But sources close to Mot­lanthe said he had left the prop­erty within the stip­u­lated time.

Deputy pres­i­dents also have the use of the High­stead of­fi­cial res­i­dence in the Groote Schuur Es­tate when in Cape Town. There is no of­fi­cial res­i­dence in Dur­ban.

Ramaphosa, a suc­cess­ful busi­ness­man and one of the rich­est men in South Africa, also owns Phala Phala – a 2 500-hectare game ranch west of Bela-Bela in Lim­popo.

Cyril Ramaphosa

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