Ramaphosa eludes ANC censure over game farm robbery scandal

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa survived a bid by some of the governing party’s top leaders to force him to temporarily vacate his post over a scandal surrounding a robbery at his game farm in 2020.

Allegations that Ramaphosa covered up the theft of foreign exchange at the farm in the northern Limpopo province were discussed at a three-day meeting of African National Congress’s national executive committee, according to three members of the panel, who asked not to be identified because they aren’t authorized to comment. A proposal that the president step aside pending the outcome of investigations into the robbery was quashed by his allies, who said party rules would only require him to do so if he’s charged, they said.

Ramaphosa told the NEC that the stolen money was the proceeds of an animal sale to a Sudanese businessman, according to the people, echoing what he told the nation’s graft ombudsman, who is also probing the allegations. The president, who has previously denied any wrongdoing, didn’t address the matter in his closing address to the conference on Sunday.

Paul Mashatile, the ANC’s treasurer general, told reporters on Monday that the party’s integrity committee is still looking into allegations against Ramaphosa. He didn’t respond to a question on what the president told the NEC about the issue.

The focus now shifts to parliament, which is set to receive a report this week from a three-member panel it appointed to determine whether there are possible grounds for Ramaphosa to be impeached. Opposition parties have questioned whether the president violated foreign exchange or tax rules.

The ANC, which has ruled Africa’s most industrialised nation since the end of White-minority rule in 1994, is due to hold its five-yearly elective conference next month and Ramaphosa is widely expected to seek a second term as its leader. The party has yet to announce the candidates who have met the nominations thresholds to contest leadership posts.

The meeting of the NEC was its first in-person gathering since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic. The attendees included former President Thabo Mbeki, who had suggested that the party should consider its options in the eventuality that Ramaphosa is charged.

The president will “gladly” vacate his post if he‘s prosecuted, but as things stand there is no criminal case against him, his spokesman Vincent Magwenya told reporters on Sunday.

© 2022 Bloomberg

Source: moneyweb.co.za