Calls grow for South Africa’s Ramaphosa to resign over robbery investigation

Lawmakers are expected to debate the report on Tuesday and vote on whether to take further action, including whether to proceed with impeachment proceedings. ANC lawmakers hold a majority in Parliament and can oppose attempts to oust their leader.

“The president appreciates the enormity of this problem and what it means for the country and the stability of the government,” Ramaphosa’s spokesman, Vincent Magwenya, told reporters, saying the president is still processing the report. “We are at an unprecedented and extraordinary moment as a constitutional democracy as a result of the report, and therefore any decision made by the president must be informed by the best interest of the country. That decision cannot be rushed,” Magwenya said.

According to the parliamentary report, Ramaphosa claimed the stolen money amounted to $580,000, disputing the initial amount of $4 million that Fraser alleged was stolen.

The report also questioned Ramaphosa’s explanation that the money came from the sale of the buffaloes to a Sudanese businessman, Mustafa Mohamed Ibrahim Hazim, asking why the animals remained on the farm more than two years later.

The report says a central bank investigation suggested there were no records of the dollars entering the country. “We cannot investigate or verify the origin of foreign currency,” he says.

The parliamentary panel said Ramaphosa had placed himself in a conflict of interest situation and said the evidence presented to him “establishes that the president may be guilty of a serious breach of certain sections of the constitution.”

The report criticized Ramaphosa for failing to inform the police in accordance with proper procedures, and instead chose to entrust the matter to the head of his presidential protection unit.

The main opposition party, the Democratic Alliance, is among those calling for Ramaphosa’s removal.

“President Ramaphosa likely violated a number of constitutional provisions and has a case to answer. Impeachment proceedings into his conduct must continue, and he will have to offer much better and fuller explanations than we have given thus far,” Democratic Alliance leader John Steenhuisen said.

Political analyst Dale McKinley said he was not convinced there was enough information to force Ramaphosa to resign.

“I don’t see Cyril Ramaphosa stepping aside unless he is charged. If they charge him, he’s going to have to swallow it and basically do that,” McKinley said. “If he doesn’t get charged and it’s just this impeachment process, my feeling is that he…he’s going to try to shore up his base and hang on. I may be wrong, but I think that politicians, their first instinct is survival.

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