S.African ruling party to discuss Ramaphosa's future

S.African ruling party to discuss Ramaphosa's future

President hanging on despite mounting pressure to quit over burglary cover-up scandal

President Cyril Ramaphosa has denied any wrongdoing in the handling of a burglary on his farm, where more than $500,000 was subsequently found stuffed in a sofa. (AFP Photo)
President Cyril Ramaphosa has denied any wrongdoing in the handling of a burglary on his farm, where more than $500,000 was subsequently found stuffed in a sofa. (AFP Photo)

JOHANNESBURG: South Africa's ruling party is set to resume talks Sunday on the future of President Cyril Ramaphosa, who is embroiled in a scandal that has put his presidency at risk.

Pressure is mounting for Ramaphosa to quit or be forced from office over a cash burglary at his farm which he allegedly covered up.

The African National Congress (ANC) will hold a "special session of its National Executive Committee" at 1200 GMT Sunday, the party said Saturday.

The committee met briefly in Johannesburg on Friday before telling journalists it would look more closely at the facts of the case against the president.

Ramaphosa has been under fire since June, when a former spy boss filed a complaint with the police alleging that he had hidden a February 2020 burglary at his farm in northeastern South Africa from the authorities.

He allegedly organised for the robbers to be kidnapped and bribed into silence.

Ramaphosa said a vast sum of cash stashed at the farm was payment for buffaloes bought by a Sudanese businessman.

The scandal has cast a shadow over Ramaphosa's bid to portray himself as graft-free after the corruption-stained era of his predecessor Jacob Zuma.

An inquiry on Wednesday submitted a report to parliament, concluding Ramaphosa "may have committed" serious violations and misconduct.

The report will be examined by parliament on Tuesday.

That debate could open the way to a vote on impeaching Ramaphosa — a term that in South Africa means to remove from office.

Ramaphosa, in his submission to the panel, denied any wrongdoing.

The president has not been charged with anything at this point, and the police inquiry is ongoing.

But the scandal, complete with details of more than half a million dollars in cash hidden under sofa cushions, has come at the worst possible moment for him.

On Dec 16, he contests elections for the ANC presidency — a position that also holds the key to staying on as national president.

The South African press remained confident on Saturday that Ramaphosa would remain in office. The president is popular with the public — more so than the ANC.

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