South Africa’s President Faces Impeachment

Written by Osetemega Iribiri

December 5, 2022

South Africa’s president, Cyril Ramaphosa, who came into power with the mantra of combatting corruption, is under pressure to resign over corruption allegations in the Farmgate scandal. South Africa’s former spy chief, Arthur Fraser, accused the president of money laundering, corruption, and covering up large theft of cash. He said the president tried to conceal the theft of $4 million stuffed into couches at his Phala Phala farm in 2020.

On Thursday, December 1, the investigation report criticized Ramaphosa for failing to inform the police and choosing to entrust the matter to the head of his presidential protection unit. This perceived misaction led to the parliamentary panel citing a potential conflict between the president’s business and official interests, indicating a severe violation of the constitution. Ramaphosa, however, denied any wrongdoing. He insisted that the money was proceeds from selling buffalos at his farm. He said he reported the theft and added that the money stolen was $580,000, not $4m.

Consequently, opposition leaders and party rivals have called for his resignation/impeachment. The president, however, maintains his innocence, is steady in his stance of not resigning, and desires reelection. On the other hand, lawmakers will debate the allegation report on Tuesday. After that, they will vote on whether to proceed with impeachment proceedings. Fortunately for Ramaphosa, ANC lawmakers are a majority in Parliament and may push back against attempts to impeach their leader. However, if lawmakers decide to forge ahead with an impeachment process, the next stage would be the creation of an impeachment committee.

The clamor for him to step down is barely a month before the ANC’s upcoming conference, where Ramaphosa would seek reelection as the party leader. His reelection would enable him to run for South Africa’s presidency a second time in 2024. Conversely, the speculations of his resignation or impeachment caused the Rand to fall more than 3% against the dollar. This uncertianty in the presidency’s political future also threatens investor confidence in the country.

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