South Africa's Cyril Ramaphosa 'not resigning' despite cash scandal

A spokesman for South Africa's President Cyril Ramaphosa, pictured above, said the leader would not resign on the basis of a 'flawed' report. (Photo: AFP)

President Cyril Ramaphosa of South Africa, embroiled in scandal and facing impeachment, has no intention of resigning and will fight both politically and legally, according to his spokesman.

This week, pressure mounted on Mr. Ramaphosa to resign or be removed from office for allegedly covering up the theft of more than $500,000 in cash from his farm.

Wednesday, a three-member parliamentary panel, including a former chief justice of the country's highest court, concluded that Mr. Ramaphosa "may have committed" illegal and unconstitutional acts, paving the way for impeachment proceedings.

"President Ramaphosa is not stepping down based on a flawed report," his spokesman Vincent Magwenya said on Saturday.

Mr. Ramaphosa has been under fire since June, when a former spy chief filed a police complaint alleging that the president concealed a burglary at his farm in north-eastern South Africa in February 2020.

Allegedly, he orchestrated the kidnapping and bribery of the burglars.

Mr. Ramaphosa, the leader of the country's ruling party, the African National Congress, has denied any wrongdoing.

At this time, he has not been charged with any crime, and the police investigation is ongoing.

However, the scandal, which includes information about the concealment of more than $500,000 in cash under sofa cushions, occurs at the worst possible time for the president.

On December 16, Mr. Ramaphosa will vie for the ANC presidency, a position that is crucial to his continuation as president of South Africa.

"The president has heeded the unambiguous message from the branches of the ruling party that have nominated him for a second term as ANC president," Mr. Magwenya stated.

He added that Mr. Ramaphosa understood this to mean that he must continue with both state and economic reforms.

"The president has accepted this call to continue serving his organization, the ANC, and the people of South Africa with humility, care, and dedication."

The ANC leadership met briefly in Johannesburg on Friday, after which they informed journalists that they would examine the president's case in greater detail.

The party's National Executive Committee will hold a special session on Monday morning, the party announced earlier on Saturday.

Mr. Magwenya also said the president would challenge the parliamentary report in court.

"It is in the long-term interest ... of our constitutional democracy, well beyond the Ramaphosa presidency, that such a clearly flawed report is challenged, especially when it's being used as a point of reference to remove a sitting head of state," he said.

The head of the South African Anglican Church warned that if Mr. Ramaphosa resigned, the country would be at risk of falling "into anarchy."

Mr. Ramaphosa explained that the vast amount of cash found on the farm was payment for buffaloes purchased by a Sudanese businessman.

However, the incriminating report questioned why the identity of Mustafa Mohamed Ibrahim Hazim, who was said to have purchased the cattle, could not be confirmed, and why the buffaloes remained on Mr. Ramaphosa's Phala Phala estate, which is a two-hour drive from Pretoria.

The report concludes, "There are serious doubts as to whether the stolen foreign currency originated from their sale."

The scandal has cast doubt on Mr. Ramaphosa's efforts to portray himself as corruption-free following the corrupt administration of his predecessor, Jacob Zuma.

The report will be examined by Parliament on Tuesday.

This discussion could pave the way for a vote on Mr. Ramaphosa's impeachment, which would result in his removal from office.

On Saturday, the South African press remained optimistic that Mr. Ramaphosa would remain in office. The president enjoys greater public support than the ANC.

The support for the party of national hero Nelson Mandela, which has been in power for the past 28 years since the end of apartheid, is dwindling.

Mr. Ramaphosa assumed leadership of the most industrialized economy in Africa in 2018, pledging to eradicate corruption from state institutions.

Publish : 2022-12-04 18:12:00

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