Calls for South Africa’s Ramaphosa to quit on larceny charges are growing louder

Lawmakers are expected to debate the report Tuesday and vote on whether to take further action, including pursuing an impeachment trial. ANC lawmakers have a majority in parliament and can resist attempts to impeach their leader.

“The President recognizes the enormity of this problem and what it means for the country and the stability of the government,” Ramaphosa spokesman Vincent Magwenya told reporters, saying the president is still editing the report. “As a result of the report, we are at an unprecedented and exceptional moment as a constitutional democracy and as such any decision by the President must be made in the best interests of the country. This decision cannot be rushed,” Magwenya said.

According to the parliamentary report, Ramaphosa claimed the stolen money totaled $580,000 and disputed the original $4 million that Fraser allegedly stole.

The report also questioned Ramaphosa’s explanation that the money came from selling buffalo to a Sudanese businessman, Mustafa Mohamed Ibrahim Hazim, and asked why the animals remained on the farm more than two years later.

According to the report, a central bank investigation found that there were no records of dollars entering the country. “We are unable to investigate or verify the origin of the foreign currency,” it said.

The parliamentary panel said Ramaphosa had placed himself in a conflict of interest, saying the evidence presented to him “determines that the president may be guilty of a serious violation of certain sections of the constitution.”

The report criticized Ramaphosa for not informing the police according to proper procedures, choosing instead to entrust the matter to the head of his Presidential Protection Unit.

The main opposition party, the Democratic Alliance, is among those calling for Ramaphosa’s impeachment.

“President Ramaphosa most likely violated a number of constitutional provisions and has a case to answer. The impeachment process against his behavior must continue, and he will have to offer far better and fuller explanations than we have received so far,” said Democratic Alliance leader John Steenhuisen.

Political scientist Dale McKinley said he was not convinced there was enough information to force Ramaphosa to resign.

“I don’t see Cyril Ramaphosa stepping aside unless he is charged. If he gets charged, he has to swallow it and basically do that,” McKinley said. “If he’s not charged and it’s just this impeachment trial, I get the impression that … he’s going to try to shore up his base and sit it out. I could be wrong, but I think politicians, their first instinct is to survive.”

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