By Joshua Samuel
President Cyril Ramaphosa may eventually be impeached as a result of conclusions made on Wednesday by an independent panel that was formed by the speaker of the South African parliament. Any impropriety was quickly refuted by the president. Ramaphosa is not facing any criminal charges.
In a statement released by the South African presidency, Ramaphosa said, “I unequivocally deny that I have breached this oath in any manner, and I similarly deny that I am guilty of any of the claims brought against me.
Ramaphosa has less than a month until an election conference that will determine if he is eligible to run for re-election in 2024 as a member of the governing African National Congress (ANC).
The suggestions were provided by a three person panel formed to investigate whether Ramaphosa should be impeached after it was claimed that millions of dollars in cash were taken from his private farm.
The panel recommended that Ramaphosa undergo more investigation into his ability to hold onto his position.
According to the report, “under all the circumstances, we believe that the information given to the Panel demonstrates that the President may be guilty of a significant violation of some constitutional provision
Ramaphosa put himself in a position where there was a conflict of interest between his personal economic interests in cattle and game farming and his official responsibilities as president, according to the panel, and he acted in a way that was inconsistent with his office.
Ramaphosa is in a difficult situation, according to John Steenhuisen, the liberal Democratic Alliance (DA), the country’s largest opposition party.
He made reference to Ramaphosa’s insistence that any party official accused of corruption resign while investigations are ongoing and said, “The report itself leaves the president in a virtually untenable position, particularly as it relates to his own party’s step aside rules and the strong line that he has taken against others within his party.”
Given that the ANC controls 230 seats in parliament, or about 60% of the total, and frequently votes along party lines, the chances of impeachment are small. The national assembly must vote with a two-thirds majority in order to impeach the president.
THE RAMAPHOSA FARM FRAUD
The theft of an estimated $4 million from Ramaphosa’s farm in 2020 came to light in June, prompting inquiries about how the wealthy president—who was elected on a platform of fighting corruption—acquired the money and if he disclosed it. Ramaphosa acknowledged the farm heist but refuted any accusations of criminal activity.
The group was established in September to determine whether there was any early proof of the president’s wrongdoing. On Thursday, Ramaphosa is scheduled to address questions in parliament. The opposition legislators may present a challenge.
The investigation is distinct from the criminal investigation, which Ramaphosa has commended, that police are carrying out.
The report will be discussed in the national assembly on Dec. 6, according to Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula, speaker of parliament.