PoliticsSouth African News

Ramaphosa Survives Impeachment

South Africa’s parliament has voted against launching an impeachment process against embattled president Cyril Ramaphosa, boosting the veteran politician’s effort to win a second term as leader of the ruling African National Congress at a key elective conference that opens later this week.

The motion to impeach Ramaphosa followed a report by an independent panel appointed by parliament that accused the veteran politician of serious misconduct after the theft from his private game ranch of somewhere between $500,000 (£410,000) and $5m in cash almost three years ago.

The funds, reportedly the proceeds of the sale of cattle, were allegedly hidden in a sofa when they were taken.

With the ANC dominant in parliament it was always unlikely impeachment would go ahead and the motion was defeated by 214 to 148 votes.

Read: BREAKING:Cyril Ramaphosa is likely to step down tonight.

Ramaphosa, who took power in 2018, has been accused of holding undeclared foreign currency, tax evasion, failing to inform police about the robbery and misusing state resources by ordering a senior presidential bodyguard to track down the thieves, who then appear to have been paid off. He has denied all wrongdoing and launched legal action to challenge the report.

The scandal, dubbed “Farmgate” by local media, reopened deep divisions between factions within the party, encouraging the president’s opponents who have called for his resignation.

Several rivals of Ramaphosa either voted for the impeachment motion or absented themselves during the vote, despite orders from the ANC for all parliamentarians to follow a party order to oppose it.

Opposition parties had sought to stiffen support for an impeachment, an unprecedented move under South Africa’s constitution.

“Mr President you stand accused of theft from the people of South Africa, you stand accused of violating your oath of office and of violating our constitution,” the radical leftwing Economic Freedom Fighters said on Twitter after the vote.

The prospect of months of political turmoil will dismay many in South Africa, which is struggling with rolling power cuts, soaring unemployment and a flagging economy. Guardian

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