JOHANNESBURG — South Africa’s president Cyril Ramaphosa looked increasingly bleak as he met with his advisers. His opponents also lobbied for his resignation, just days after a Parliament report suggested that he might have violated the law over large cash thefts from his game farm.
The report of an independent panel, was released Wednesday . It suggested that Mr. Ramaphosa be subject to an impeachment hearing at Parliament to decide whether he should be removed. The panel was skeptical about Ramaphosa’s explanation of how large amounts of U.S. currency were hidden in — and stolen form — a sofa at Phala Phala Wildlife.
Sithembile Mabete, a Senior Lecturer in Politics at the University of Pretoria, said that “the president is in a very very terrible situation.”
Detractors of President Obama have been lobbying for his removal for years. They used the report as a way to argue that he doesn’t have the moral authority or the moral authority to lead the country and continue the anti-corruption campaign that has been his central talking point.
“I think that the President must step aside now to answer the case,” Nkosazana Damini-Zuma (a member of Mr. Ramaphosa’s cabinet) wrote on Twitter following the release of the panel’s report.
On Wednesday, the president’s office stated that Mr. Ramaphosa would speak to the nation in due time. There were also predictions that he would make a resignation speech on Friday. On Thursday night, Vincent Magwenya (the president’s spokesperson) held a brief news conference to inform the nation that Ramaphosa was still contemplating his future and that he would not be speaking that day.
What’s “Farmgate?” According to the allegations, burglars stole a lot of U.S. Dollars and stored it in furniture at Mr. Ramaphosa’s farm. Although the president did not report the theft to police, nor did he make it public, he apparently initiated an off-the-books investigation into the matter and paid the suspects to remain silent. Ramaphosa denied that he tried to hide the theft.
What’s next? His political future looked increasingly bleak after an independent panel found that Ramaphosa may not have complied with the law. Opponents are lobbying for his resignation.
He said, “All options are available.”
Ramaphosa had been consulting many people within government, his party, and other political parties in order to decide the best way forward. Detractors are critical of the president’s large consultations, which align with his governing style. They claim he consults until the point of indecision or paralysis.
Magwenya stated that “whatever decision the president takes, it has to be informed in the best interests of the country.” “And that decision can’t be made in a hurry.”
The A.N.C. The A.N.C. is expected to hold its national conference in two weeks to elect its leaders. Before being slapped by corruption allegations, Ramaphosa seemed to be in a good position to win reelection as party president. This allowed him to secure its support to run for another term in 2024.
In June, one his political enemies filed a police complaint alleging that $4 million to $8 million in U.S. Dollars was taken from Mr. Ramaphosa’s game farm in February 2020. According to the complaint, he did not report the theft to police and tried to hide it in order to protect himself from tax fraud and money laundering as well as questions about the source.
Ramaphosa claimed that only $580,000 was stolen, and that the money was the proceeds from the sale of 20 buffaloes. He claimed he had not broken any laws and that the money was hidden in a couch by a farm manager who was concerned about it being stolen from a safe that could be opened by several employees.
The panel, which included two ex-judges and a lawyer, found that the president’s story was flawed. He also failed to explain why he didn’t report South Africa’s central banks receiving foreign currency or pay the taxes required. Panelists questioned whether the money came from the proceeds from the sale of buffaloes. The claimed buyer did not take anything from the farm.
The National Assembly will be discussing the findings of the panel next Tuesday. Political analysts predict that lawmakers will vote for a committee to hold an inquiry into whether Mr. Ramaphosa should step down. If two-thirds vote against the president, he would be removed from office.
Ms. Mbete was a politics lecturer who said that Mr. Ramaphosa would probably survive an impeachment proceeding because his party is the majority. In the context of the bitter internal power struggle between the A.N.C. and its members, the panel’s findings are even more damaging.
She said that in some ways, South Africa’s panel’s findings are a positive sign. It shows that South Africa has strong institutions that can hold the powerful accountable. She said that the panel’s findings could also be bad because it could lead to the president becoming consumed by party politics.
She said, “People don’t eat institutions.” “The urgent issues of poverty, unemployment, and inequality, it just feels that they’re going to be put back on the burner again.”
The president’s office issued a statement after the publication of the findings. It denied any wrongdoing, and said that he would address America in due course. On Thursday, the president and David Mabuza his deputy cancelled public appearances, while his spokesperson cancelled a news conference.
Although the A.N.C.’s National Executive Committee was scheduled to meet on Thursday night to discuss the report of the panel, the meeting was rescheduled for Friday morning. The news about the president caused party officials to be nervous at a news conference held at the party’s headquarters Thursday afternoon.
Reporters tried to ask questions about Mr. Ramaphosa. The party’s spokesperson shouted them down and waved his hand from a podium.
The main opposition party, the Democratic Alliance, in Parliament called for a resolution to dissolve government and hold early elections — currently they are scheduled for 2024.
Lindiwe Zulu is the minister of social and executive in the A.N.C. She said that she couldn’t make a decision on the future of the president. She did not vote for the president during the last A.N.C. She said that she did not vote for the president in the last A.N.C. leadership election but she promised to do her best when she was elected to his cabinet. She was grateful for some of the achievements he made for the A.N.C. She said she was grateful for the work he did for the A.N.C.
It was all a shock to him when he was charged with corruption. And it’s even more shocking now that the panel has found out that he may have violated the law.
She said, “I am disappointed.” “And that’s all that I can say.”