JOHANNESBURG – The political future for South Africa’s president Cyril Ramaphosa grew more grim as he huddled in with advisers. On Thursday, his opponents lobbied loudly to have him resign. This was a day after Parliament reported that Ramaphosa may have broken the law regarding large amounts of cash he had stolen from his farm.
The independent panel report released on Wednesday suggested that Mr. Ramaphosa should face an impeachment proceeding in Parliament to decide if he should be reelected. It was skeptical of his explanation about how a large amount of U.S. money got hidden in — or stolen from — a sofa at Phala Phala Wildlife.
SithembileMbete, a University of Pretoria senior lecturer on politics, stated that the president was in an extremely, very bad position.
His detractors have long been pushing for his resignation. The report was used by them to show that he does not possess the moral authority and the moral authority necessary to continue his role as leader of the country, and to carry out the anticorruption fight that has been his central point.
“I think President Ramaphosa should step aside now and address the case,” Nkosazana dlamini-Zuma, who is a member Mr. Ramaphosa’s Cabinet, wrote on Twitter, after the panel’s final report was published.
According to the presidency’s office, Mr. Ramaphosa would address South Africa in due course. South African media predicted that he would deliver a resignation speech Thursday. Vincent Magwenya who is Mr. Ramaphosa’s spokesman, called a short news conference on Thursday evening to state that the president was still thinking about his future, but would not speak.
What is “Farmgate?” According the allegations, burglars stole a fortune from Mr. Ramaphosa’s home. While the president didn’t report the theft to the police nor made it public, he did start an investigation off the books and pay the suspects to stay quiet. Ramaphosa denies that he was trying cover up the incident.
What next? His political prospects grew more bleak after an independent panel’s shocking report revealed that Mr. Ramaphosa may be in violation of the law. According to the report, Ramaphosa should face an impeachment inquiry by Parliament. Opponents are pushing for his resignation.
He stated that “all options are on the table”.
Ramaphosa was consulting many people in government, within his party, and from other political parties to determine the best path forward. His wide-ranging consultations are in line with his governing style. This is something that has been criticized by detractors who claim that he consults to paralysis and indecision.
Magwenya explained that no matter what decision the president makes it must be informed by the best interests and the country. “And that decision must not be taken in haste.”
The A.N.C. In two weeks, the A.N.C. will convene its national conference to elect their leaders. He had been in a strong position until he was slapped with corruption accusations.
One of his political rivals filed a complaint to the police in June alleging that between $4million and $8million in U.S. dollar was stolen from Mr. Ramaphosa’s February 2020 game farm. He failed to report the theft and tried to cover it up to avoid tax fraud, money laundering and questions about where the money came from.
Ramaphosa claimed only $580,000 had been taken and that the money was the proceeds of selling 20 buffaloes for a Sudanese businessman. He stated that he had not violated any laws and that the money had simply been hidden in a sofa because a farm manager was worried about the possibility of it being taken from a safe several staff members could access.
A panel consisting of two former judges and an attorney reported that the president’s account of events was flawed. They also said that he failed to account for the reasons he didn’t report South Africa’s central bank receiving foreign currency, nor pay taxes, nor report the theft to police. The panelists doubted that the money was actually from proceeds from the sale buffaloes. However, the claim buyer never took anything from the farm.
The National Assembly will debate the panel’s findings next week. Analysts predict that lawmakers will vote to create a committee to hear whether Mr. Ramaphosa needs to be removed from office. If the majority of members vote against him, then the president would be dismissed.
Ms. Mbete (politics lecturer) said that Mr. Ramaphosa will likely survive an impeachment procedure because his party is in majority. He is more vulnerable to the A.N.C.’s internal power struggle than the panel’s findings.
The panel’s report is positive in some ways. It shows South Africa has strong institutions and is not afraid to hold those who are powerful accountable. It’s also bad, she stated, because it could lead the president to be consumed by party politics.
She stated that “people don’t eat institutions”. “The most urgent issues of poverty and unemployment are going to be forgotten again.
After the release of the panel’s findings were released, the president’s Office issued a statement denouncing any wrongdoing and promising to address the nation as soon as possible. His deputy David Mabuza, president, cancelled their public appearances and his spokesperson cancelled a news conference.
A.N.C.’s national executive committee was supposed to meet Thursday evening to discuss the panel report, but it was postponed to Friday morning. On Thursday afternoon, party officials seemed to be on edge when the news about President Trump was announced at a news conference at their headquarters.
When reporters tried to ask questions on Mr. Ramaphosa’s character, the party’s spokesperson shouted them all down and waved his hands from a podium.
The Democratic Alliance, which is the main opposition party in Parliament demanded a resolution to dissolve parliament and hold elections earlier — they are currently scheduled to take place in 2024.
Lindiwe Zurlu, the minister for social development and an executive at the A.N.C. said she couldn’t give a judgement on what the president’s future holds. Although she didn’t support the president at the last A.N.C., Although she didn’t vote for him in the last A.N.C. election, she stated that she had promised to be her best self when she was appointed to his Cabinet. She appreciated the many things he was able to do for the A.N.C. She said that she appreciated his contributions to the A.N.C. and the government.
He was falsely accused of corruption. It all shocked her, she stated. This shock is compounded by the fact that the panel found that he may have actually broken the law.
“I am sorry,” she stated. “And that’s about all I have to say.”