Fate of South Africa’s leader hangs on key meeting

Leaders of South Africa’s governing party are meeting to discuss President Cyril Ramaphosa’s future amid a corruption scandal that has led to calls for him to resign.

He came to power pledging to tackle corruption but has now been caught up in his own crisis.

An independent report said Mr Ramaphosa may have broken the law by allegedly covering up a theft at his farm.

He has denied any wrongdoing and his spokesman said the report was “flawed”.

Speaking on Sunday, Mr Ramaphosa said his fate was in the hands of the governing African National Congress (ANC). But he has also said that he will challenge the report in the country’s Constitutional Court.

Parliament will also get its say, with MPs set to discuss the report which was commissioned from a panel of legal experts by the Speaker on Tuesday. They could decide to launch impeachment proceedings.

Leader of the opposition Economic Freedom Fighters, Julius Malema, has said that he was confident impeachment would go ahead even though the ANC had a majority of seats in Parliament.

Speaking to journalists on Monday, Mr Malema called for the arrest of the president alleging that he had committed a crime. Mr Ramaphosa has not been charged with anything at this point.

Faced with a difficult economic situation, South Africans are watching this unfold wondering how it could affect them and waiting to see if yet another president will be brought down by allegations of corruption.

Mr Ramaphosa became president in 2018 after the resignation of Jacob Zuma, whose time in office had been weighed down by mounting allegations.

This scandal erupted in June, when a former South African spy boss, Zuma-ally Arthur Fraser, filed a complaint with police accusing the president of hiding a theft of $4m (£3.25m) in cash from his Phala Phala game farm in 2020.

Mr Ramaphosa admitted that some money, which had been hidden in a sofa, had been stolen, but said it was $580,000 not $4m.

The president said the $580,000 had come from the sale of buffalo, but the panel, headed by a former chief justice, said it had “substantial doubt” about whether a sale took place. -BBC

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