© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: South African President Cyril Ramaphosa appears to be like on as he walks by way of the Royal Botanic Gardens throughout a state go to in London, Britain, November 23, 2022. REUTERS/Maja Smiejkowska
By Wendell Roelf
CAPE TOWN (Reuters) – South African President Cyril Ramaphosa has been underneath mounting stress since an inquiry discovered proof he could have dedicated severe misconduct in relation to a considerable amount of money discovered at his sport farm after a theft.
Ramaphosa has denied any wrongdoing. However the inquiry’s findings couldn’t have come at a worse time for the president, who ousted his predecessor Jacob Zuma on a promise to scrub up worsening corruption.
Earlier than the findings got here out on Wednesday, he was the clear favorite to steer the African Nationwide Congress (ANC) into elections in 2024 and safe a second presidential time period.
However with lower than a month to go earlier than the social gathering chooses its subsequent candidate, he’s battling for political survival.
HOW IT ALL STARTED
The whole lot modified for Ramaphosa when South Africa’s former spy chief, Arthur Fraser, walked right into a police station in June and accused him of cash laundering and overlaying up a big theft of money.
In a sworn assertion, Fraser stated thieves had raided Ramaphosa’s Phala Phala sport farm in February, discovered at the very least $4 million in international money hidden in furnishings, and made off with the cash.
Police opened a prison investigation into the case after Fraser’s assertion, which raised questions on how Ramaphosa had acquired a lot money and whether or not he declared it.
Ramaphosa, acknowledged there had been a break-in and stated that money proceeds from the sale of sport had been stolen. He denied any wrongdoing and has not been charged with any prison offence. He stated the quantity was a lot smaller than what had been alleged.
The affair has been an enormous embarrassment for Ramaphosa who has repeatedly spoken about taking a tricky line on graft.
He confronted down a rival faction from his personal social gathering in July who had been attempting to scrap a rule that anybody charged with corruption or different crimes should step down whereas they’re being investigated.
He additionally promised in October to sort out graft with harder procurement guidelines and higher oversight of state-owned companies, after an inquiry highlighted high-level graft underneath Zuma.
On the again of Fraser’s affidavit, a small parliamentary opposition social gathering, the African Transformation Motion (ATM), lodged a movement in parliament asking to institute a so-called Part 89 inquiry into Ramaphosa’s health to face workplace.
Used for the primary time since being adopted by parliament in 2018, the Part 89 inquiry units out a course of to question a sitting president of South Africa, if proof emerges of wrongdoing.
The panel’s suggestions, which aren’t binding on lawmakers, are step one in a prolonged course of that would finally result in Ramaphosa’s impeachment.