South Africa’s Farmgate scandal: who is President Cyril Ramaphosa, will he resign, could he be impeached?
Ramaphosa is alleged to have covered up the theft of $4 million from his Phala Phala farm in 2020
and live on Freeview channel 276
Ramaphosa is alleged to have covered up the theft of $4 million from his Phala Phala farm in 2020. Dubbed the “Farmgate” scandal by the media, the report which was released on Wednesday 30 November which found evidence of misconduct has been passed onto parliament.
The 70-year-old could face impeachment, prior to the revelation he had been the front runner to lead the African National Congress (ANC) into South Africa’s 2024 elections and secure a second presidential term.
The discovery, which was made in June has raised questions about why the president had such a large sum of money which hadn’t been declared and wasn’t kept in a bank.
Ramaphosa denies the allegations and has not been charged.
Who is Cyril Ramaphosa?
Cyril Ramaphosa was born in Soweto on 17 November in 1952. The successful businessman turned politician was a former labour activist who fought against apartheid as a student at the University of Limpopo. In 2018 he became South Africa’s fifth president and led the ANC to election victory in 2019.
What is Farmgate?
The media have dubbed the scandal Farmgate. Reported by France 24, in June 2022, South Africa’s former spy chief Arthur Fraser accused the president of money laundering and covering up a large theft of cash. Fraser said that Ramphosa’s Phala Phala Farm had been ransacked in Februrary 2020, with thieves making off with nearly $4 million found hidden in furniture on the property.
The huge sum of cash had not been declared, with police opening a criminal investigation into the case. It was also alleged that a presidential bodyguard had tracked down the money after it was stolen.
Ramaphosa, acknowledged that there had been a robbery at his farm and that money which he had received from the sale of a buffalo was stolen, but disputed the sum that was alleged. He denied any wrongdoing and has not been charged with any criminal offence.
Addressing the allegations in a statement on Wednesday (30 November) he said: “I have endeavoured, throughout my tenure as President, not only to abide by my oath but to set an example of respect for the Constitution, for its institutions, for due process and the law. I categorically deny that I have violated this oath in any way, and I similarly deny that I am guilty of any of the allegations made against me.”
Will he be impeached?
Ramaphosa could be impeached following the investigation’s ruling, with parliament planning to vote on it. For the impeachment to go through the motion will need to have a two-thirds majority. The ANC currently hold a majority so to reach that, members would have to vote along with the opposition parties which is unlikely as he was anticipated to be their candidate for the 2024 South African election.
What does this mean for South Africa?
Following the result there has been growing speculation that Ramaphosa could resign as President. Reported by Reuters, ANC Chairman Gwede Mantashe tried to dispel these rumours in an interview on Newzroom Afrika on Friday 2 December. The minister for energy and mines said: “My own view is that it would be premature for the president to just step down without a due process.”