Johannesburg - Cyril Ramaphosa, once seen as a possible successor to Nelson Mandela and now a leading businessman, said on Thursday he is taking over the McDonald's fast food franchise in South Africa and wants to maximise business opportunities.
The former union leader has won a 20-year franchise agreement with McDonald's to run its 132 restaurants in South Africa, he said in a statement that did not reveal the value of the deal.
"We will focus on satisfying our customers, developing our people and maximising business opportunities. This relationship will have a positive impact on jobs, shareholders and ultimately McDonald's customers," he said.
Under the arrangement, Ramaphosa will own all McDonald's assets in South Africa, including property, the statement said.
"McDonald's South Africa is a strong and robust business, and we're confident in its future with Mr Ramaphosa as its new owner," McDonald's South Africa managing director Greg Solomon said.
"For all of our customers in South Africa, it is hamburgers as usual; and for our employees, franchisees and suppliers, it is business as usual, with the benefits of accelerated expansion and responsible growth."
McDonald's opened its first restaurant in South Africa in 1995, the year after the first all-race elections that made Mandela president.
Ramaphosa played a key role in the negotiations that ended white-minority rule, and in the years since has become one of the country's most prominent businessmen, often seen as the face of black economic empowerment.