Sunday, 5 February, 2023

SA President Cyril Ramaphosa defies scandal to win party vote

South Africa's scandal-hit President Cyril Ramaphosa has been re-elected as the governing ANC's leader to wild cheers from his supporters.

He defeated his rival Zweli Mkhize by 2,476 votes to 1,897.

Mr Ramaphosa won despite being dogged by allegations of money laundering, and a last-minute surge in support for Mr Mkhize, who has also been accused of corruption. Both deny the allegations.

His victory puts him in pole position to lead the ANC in the 2024 election.

But he is still at risk as he is being investigated by police, the tax office and central bank over allegations that he stashed at least $580,000 (£475,000) in a sofa at his private farm, and then covered up its theft.

A panel of legal experts, appointed by the speaker of parliament, said that he had a case to answer as he may have both violated the constitution and broken an anti-corruption law.

His supporters burst into song and dance after he was declared the winner, in a result that saw him win by a bigger margin than when he first ran for the leadership of the governing party - the African National Congress - in 2017.

Mr Ramaphosa's re-election bid was bolstered by the fact the ANC used its parliamentary majority to vote down the findings of the panel.

The president has denied any wrongdoing, and has launched legal action to annul the panel's report.