Ramaphosa’s Days May Be Numbered in South Africa

Ramaphosa’s Days May Be Numbered in South Africa
South African President Cyril Ramaphosa arrives at 10 Downing Street, in London, Nov. 23, 2022 (AP photo by Alberto Pezzali).

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa’s political future hangs in the balance after an independent panel appointed by parliament found evidence that he had violated the country’s constitution and breached South Africa’s anti-corruption laws in his handling of an incident in which large sums of cash were stolen from one of his properties two years ago.

The panel, chaired by former Chief Justice Sandile Ngcobo, submitted a report to the speaker of the National Assembly that essentially recommends impeachment proceedings against Ramaphosa. He could be removed from office if two-thirds of the assembly’s lawmakers vote against him. The report called into question Ramaphosa’s explanation for how such a large sum of money—$4 million in foreign currencies—came to be hidden in and stolen from his home.

The controversy stems from the so-called “Phala Phala,” or Farmgate, scandal, which emerged when the country’s former spy chief, Arthur Fraser, walked into a police station and accused Ramaphosa of money laundering, corruption and covering up the theft of a large amount of cash. In a sworn statement, Fraser said that thieves had raided Ramaphosa’s Phala Phala game farm in February 2020, found at least $4 million in foreign cash hidden in furniture and made off with the money. Ramaphosa has since admitted that his farm was indeed burglarized but denied any wrongdoing.

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