Ramaphosa Donates Half of Presidential Salary to Mandela Fund

(Bloomberg) -- South African President Cyril Ramaphosa pledged to donate half his salary to a fund honoring Nelson Mandela, the country’s first democratically elected leader who died in 2013, in a move aimed at encouraging his countrymen to do more for the poor.

“This fund will be launched on July 18 to mark the 100th anniversary of Madiba’s birth,” Ramaphosa, who referred to Mandela by his clan name, said in a speech to lawmakers in Cape Town on Wednesday. “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.”

Ramaphosa became one of the wealthiest black South Africans during a 14-year stint in business and is paid 3.6 million rand ($288,000) a year as president. He took office in February when the ruling party forced Jacob Zuma from office after a scandal-tainted tenure that lasted almost nine years, and has been on a drive to restore public confidence in the government and ruling African National Congress, which is due to contest elections next year.

Ramaphosa has drawn praise on social media for flying with the national airline, at times in economy class, inviting the public to join him on early morning walks and clamping down on the graft within the government and state companies that became endemic under his predecessor.

In his speech, Ramaphosa announced the establishment of a new presidential council, comprising government ministers, business leaders and industry experts, to ensure state companies are properly managed, and appointed a new panel headed by former judge Robert Nugent to probe the management and administration of the national tax agency.

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