On 2 September 2007, The Sunday Times reported that Ramaphosa was in the election race, but by that evening he had released a statement once again holding back on any commitment.
On , prominent Afrikaner ANC member Derek Hanekom asked Ramaphosa to run for President of the ANC, stating that "We need leaders of comrade Cyril's calibre.
Following the first fully democratic elections in 1994, Ramaphosa became a member of parliament; he was elected the chairperson of its Constitutional Assembly on and played a central role in the government of national unity.
After he lost the race to become President of South Africa to Thabo Mbeki, he resigned from his political positions in January 1997 and moved to the private sector, where he became a director of New Africa Investments Limited.
As General Secretary, he, James Motlatsi (President of NUM), and Elijah Barayi (Vice President of NUM) also led the mineworkers in one of the biggest strikes ever in South African history.
In December 1988, Ramaphosa and other prominent members of the Soweto community met Soweto’s Mayor to discuss the rent boycott crisis.
In March 1986 he was part of COSATU’s delegation which met the African National Congress in Lusaka, Zambia.
When Nelson Mandela was released from prison, Ramaphosa was on the National Reception Committee.
Subsequent to his election as Secretary General of the African National Congress in 1991, he became head of the negotiation team of the ANC in negotiating the end of apartheid with the National Party government.
Ramaphosa was elected as the first General Secretary of the union, a position he held until he resigned in June 1991, following his election as Secretary General of the African National Congress (ANC).
Under his leadership, union membership grew from 6,000 in 1982 to 300,000 in 1992, giving it control of nearly half of the total black workforce in the South African mining industry.
On 18 December 2012, he was elected as Deputy President of the ANC.