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South African president faces impeachment threat

  • Sun Online Desk
  • 1st December, 2022 03:59:49 PM
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South African president faces impeachment threat

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa is facing a possible impeachment threat over the "Farmgate" scandal.

The president has been accused of covering up a $4m (£3.3m) theft from his farm in 2020, including kidnapping and bribing the burglars into silence.

A three-volume report from an independent panel has found that Mr Ramaphosa abused his position and may have broken an anti-corruption law.

He has denied wrongdoing, and said the money was from selling buffalo.

The panel's findings have been handed to parliament, which is set to examine them and decide whether or not to launch impeachment proceedings next week.

Mr Ramaphosa is less than a month away from a conference which will decide if he can run for a second term with his party, the African National Congress (ANC), in 2024. The incident could be particularly damaging as Mr Ramaphosa ran for office on an anti-corruption ticket.

The ANC will hold a meeting with its executive on Thursday, where it is expected that the issue will be discussed.

The Farmgate scandal erupted in June, when a former South African spy boss, Arthur Fraser, filed a complaint with police accusing the president of hiding a theft of $4m in cash from his Phala Phala farm in the north-east of the country in 2020.

Mr Fraser, who is a close ally of former President Jacob Zuma, alleged that the money could have been the proceeds of money-laundering and corruption, and accused the president of kidnapping and bribing the burglars.

Holding such a large amount of money in dollars could violate foreign exchange control laws.

Mr Ramaphosa has confirmed a robbery, but said the amount stolen was less than that alleged, and denied attempting to cover it up.

Some $580,000 which had been paid in cash for buffalo was stolen from under sofa cushions in the farmhouse, he said.