South Africa’s President Cyril Ramaphosa wants to remain in office despite allegations of money laundering. His spokesman, Vincent Magwenya, said on Saturday the German Press Agency. “Ramaphosa is not stepping down,” Magwenya said.
The report by a parliamentary commission of inquiry that Ramaphosa violated an anti-corruption law and the constitution was “clearly flawed,” Magwenya said. Ramaphosa decided to “review” the report.
Several independent legal experts had previously said the report relied heavily on unverified evidence and hearsay.
The publication of the results of the committee of inquiry on Wednesday had plunged South Africa’s ruling party, the African National Congress (ANC), into a deep crisis. Ramaphosa has been under a lot of pressure ever since.
After Thursday it was still expected that he would resign or be removed from office, many influential representatives from politics, business and the church supported him on Friday. The head of the Anglican Church in South Africa, Archbishop Thabo Makgoba, even warned that the country risked descending into “anarchy” if he resigned.
The executive board of Ramaphosa’s African National Congress (ANC) party held an emergency meeting on Friday, but quickly adjourned. Another meeting is scheduled for Monday. Parliament is convening for a special session on Tuesday.
The background is a dubious robbery
The background to the allegations against the President is a robbery on Ramaphosa’s private livestock farm in 2020. Ramaphosa – a successful businessman and multi-millionaire even before his term in office – had reported the robbery, but not the disappearance of the money.
A former intelligence chief accused Ramaphosa in June of hiding $4 million in cash in his luxurious mansion. After a burglary at his farm, Ramaphosa is said to have organized the kidnapping and bribing of the burglars so that it would remain secret that he had stored so much money there.
Ramaphosa, on the other hand, claims he was robbed of the equivalent of €560,000, which was hidden under his sofa cushions. This sum was paid to him by a Sudanese man who bought buffalo from his farm.
Ramaphosa dismissed the allegations of his own misconduct before the committee of inquiry as “completely unfounded”.
Ramaphosa is actually hoping for a second term
The scandal comes at the worst possible time for Ramaphosa: the 70-year-old wants to be confirmed as chairman of the ANC in mid-December. Re-election as party leader would also pave the way for a second term as president.
His spokesman stressed on Saturday that the party had nominated Ramaphosa for a second term at the head of the ANC. The President “took this unmistakable message” to heart, said Magwenya. “The President takes this message to mean that he should continue with both government and economic reforms,” he added.
Ramaphosa’s predecessor, Jacob Zuma, who ruled from 2009 to 2018, was forced to resign over a corruption scandal. The ANC, which emerged from the former freedom movement, has ruled South Africa since the end of the racist apartheid regime in 1994. (dpa, AFP)
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