Ramaphosa’s future in balance over South Africa ‘farmgate’ scandal

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  • Panel finds president may have committed wrongdoing
  • Ramaphosa denies wrongdoing
  • ANC executives meet Friday to discuss findings
  • Rand, bonds fall on speculation that Ramaphosa may leave

CAPE TOWN (Reuters) – The future of South African President Cyril Ramaphosa was in jeopardy on Thursday. found the evidence He may have cheated over a stash of cash stolen from his gaming farm.

A report by a panel of experts appointed by the Speaker of Parliament, suspicion of theft .

The theft raises questions about how Ramaphosa, who came to power on promises to fight corruption, got the money and why he declared it.

The president states that a much smaller amount of money (game sales) was taken, upon hearing it he reported the crime.

His spokesman said Ramaphosa “has all options” and is still consulting on the report’s recommendations. He apologized for earlier comments that suggested Ramaphosa could issue a statement on Thursday.

The rand fell more than 4% against the dollar before losing more, and South Africa’s dollar-denominated bonds plunged on speculation that Mr Ramaphosa would resign.

The country’s largest opposition party, the Democratic Alliance, is calling for early elections, and the report puts the ruling African National Congress (ANC) in jeopardy.

It also threatens Ramaphosa’s efforts to rekindle investor confidence in Africa’s most industrialized economy after a decade-long corruption scandal under former President Jacob Zuma.

The ANC said the Executive Committee will meet on Friday morning to discuss the panel’s report, delaying earlier plans to meet on Thursday.

South Africa’s Foreign Minister Naledi Pandor, in an interview at Reuters’ NEXT conference, called the panel’s report a “very troubling moment” and two ministers called for Ramaphosa’s resignation.

A spokesman for the elite police force Hawks said an investigation into the theft at Ramaphosa’s farm was ongoing, but said the central bank had not commented on the exchange control investigation.

The media dubbed the incident “Farmgate”.

resignation call

ANC is Choice meeting Later this month, it will be decided whether Ramaphosa will run for a second term on the ANC ticket in the 2024 election.

Zuma’s ex-wife, Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, who was narrowly defeated by Ramaphosa in the 2017 ANC leadership contest, tweeted late Wednesday, “I think the president has to step back now and answer this. ‘ wrote.

Tourism Minister Lindiwe Sisulu, who campaigned to be elected leader of the ANC earlier this month, wrote: “CR must resign now!”

Ramaphosa postponed Thursday’s scheduled appearance in Congress to answer questions from lawmakers and asked the Senate speaker for time to “carefully consider his next course of action,” a congressional statement said. rice field.

The Commission’s recommendations are not binding on lawmakers scheduled to debate the report on December 6. The ANC holds a majority of seats in parliament.

If lawmakers decide to proceed with the impeachment process, the next step will be the creation of an impeachment committee with far greater powers than a panel of experts appointed by the chair, including subpoenas.

That committee has the power to recommend the removal of Ramaphosa, and that decision must be taken by Congress.

Roelf reported from Cape Town and Winning from Johannesburg. Additional reporting from Johannesburg by Bhargav Acharya and Tim Cocks Edited by Olivia Kumwenda-Mtambo, James Macharia Chege, Mark Heinrich, Andrew Heavens

Our criteria: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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