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Cyril Ramaphosa: South Africa leader won’t resign, says spokesman

Country on tenterhooks in the wake of the murky and highly politicised scandal involving buffalo, a sofa, and the theft of hundreds of thousands (and possibly millions) of dollars By BBC South Africa's President Cyril Ramaphosa will not resign despite a scandal over money stolen from his farm, his spokesman says.

Country on tenterhooks in the wake of the murky and highly politicised scandal involving buffalo, a sofa, and the theft of hundreds of thousands (and possibly millions) of dollars

 

 

By BBC

South Africa’s President Cyril Ramaphosa will not resign despite a scandal over money stolen from his farm, his spokesman says. The row centres on claims he kept large sums of cash on his property then covered up its theft.

A panel of legal experts concluded that he has a case to answer.

But Mr Ramaphosa’s spokesman suggested he would fight on, and rather than quit would seek a second term as leader of his African National Congress party.

“President Ramaphosa is not resigning based on a flawed report, neither is he stepping aside,” Vincent Magwenya said.

“It may be in the long-term interest and sustainability of our constitutional democracy, well beyond the Ramaphosa presidency, that such a clearly flawed report is challenged,” he added.

The scandal erupted in June, when a former South African spy boss, Arthur Fraser, filed a complaint with police accusing the president of hiding a theft of $4m (£3.25m) in cash from his Phala Phala game farm in 2020.

Mr Ramaphosa admitted that money had been stolen, but said it was $580,000, not $4m. The president said the $580,000 had come from the sale of buffalo, but the panel, headed by a former chief justice, said it had “substantial doubt” about whether a sale took place.

The panel’s findings have been handed to parliament, which is set to examine them and decide whether or not to launch impeachment proceedings against the president. Mr Ramaphosa is also under pressure from the opposition, as well as rivals from his governing ANC, to resign.

He is due to meet the ANC’s top leadership bodies on Sunday and Monday after failing to turn up at an earlier meeting.

What Analysts Are Saying

The scandal is especially damaging for Mr Ramaphosa because he came to power vowing to clear up the corruption which had dogged the country under his predecessor, Jacob Zuma.

The ANC remains deeply divided between supporters of Mr Zuma and those who back Mr Ramaphosa.

Mr Ramaphosa will be challenged for the ANC’s leadership by his former health minister Zweli Mkhize, who has also been accused of corruption. He denies the allegations.

South Africans are waiting, many in deep trepidation, to find out if President Ramaphosa is about to resign in the wake of the murky and highly politicised scandal involving cattle, a sofa, and the theft of hundreds of thousands (and possibly millions) of dollars.

Much now hangs on a meeting of the leaders of the country’s governing party, the African National Congress (ANC), which is due to convene in the coming days.

Mr Ramaphosa’s most ardent supporters – and he remains a popular leader – frame this moment as an all-or-nothing fight between a decent man, desperately trying to clean up a corruption-ridden country, and the forces of chaos with the ANC who are trying to get rid of him in order to keep hold of their loot and keep themselves out of prison.

One commentator likened the drama to Shakespeare’s Henry V, urging Mr Ramaphosa to “stiffen the sinews” and fight to clear his name. There’s no doubt that the case against Mr Ramaphosa was – at least to begin with – politically motivated.

A well-known political rival, linked to South Africa’s disgraced former President, Jacob Zuma, dramatically revealed allegations that millions of dollars – hidden in a sofa – had gone missing from Mr Ramaphosa’s high-end Phala Phala game farm, and that there had been a police cover-up.

The president – a wealthy businessman and former liberation struggle icon, once backed by Nelson Mandela to succeed him – loftily declared that he was innocent.

But the story has not gone away, and over time, as fresh details and denials have leaked out, even some of his supporters have acknowledged that the scandal has been poorly handled by Mr Ramaphosa and his aides.

“There are questions that he has not been able to answer… about these huge sums of cash. He’d told us he’d put all these [businesses] in blind trust. I think he was very clumsy and careless… and out of touch,” said Nomboniso Gasa, a political analyst.

So what now?

In the over-heated world of the ANC – a party so long in power that its furious internal feuds now feel more like open-warfare – the campaigning and jockeying are in full swing.

The party is due to select a leader later this month – with Mr Ramaphosa an easy favourite to win. But those calculations are now changing fast.

See Also

 

https://zimbabwedigitalexpress.com/2022/06/12/week-of-drama-as-mystery-robbery-leaves-sa-president-in-the-mud/

 

 

https://zimbabwedigitalexpress.com/2022/09/17/ramaphosa-raises-sticky-issue-of-sanctions-on-zimbabwe-with-president-joe-biden/

 

 

https://zimbabwedigitalexpress.com/2021/12/12/president-ramaphosa-slams-european-leaders-for-adopting-omicron-colonial-mentality/

 

 

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