S.African president's spokesman says announcement imminent after misconduct report
South Africa's presidency will make an announcement imminently, President Cyril Ramaphosa's spokesman said on Thursday, a day after a panel report found preliminary evidence that Ramaphosa may have violated his oath of office and committed misconduct.
- South Africa
South Africa's presidency will make an announcement imminently, President Cyril Ramaphosa's spokesman said on Thursday, a day after a panel report found preliminary evidence that Ramaphosa may have violated his oath of office and committed misconduct. The inquiry centred on the theft of an estimated $4 million from the billionaire president's farm in 2020, which only came to light in June. The theft has raised questions about how Ramaphosa, who took to power on the promise to fight graft, acquired the cash and whether he declared it.
The president has denied any wrongdoing and has not been charged with any crimes. Asked by Reuters about a local media report that Ramaphosa was due to address the nation on Thursday, Ramaphosa's spokesman Vincent Magwenya said: "An announcement is imminent. ... I can't confirm the date and time, we will advise."
The rand was more than 2% weaker against the dollar on Thursday and South Africa's sovereign dollar bonds fell more than 2 cents. South Africa's foreign minister called the panel's report "a very troubling moment" in an interview at the Reuters NEXT conference, and two cabinet ministers called for Ramaphosa to resign.
The National Executive Committee of Ramaphosa's governing African National Congress (ANC) party is due to meet on Thursday evening to discuss the panel report, the party's spokesman has said. RESIGNATION CALLS
The ANC is set to hold an elective conference
later this month that will decide if Ramaphosa gets to run for a second term on the ANC ticket at a 2024 election. "I think the president has to step aside now and answer to the case," Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, former president Jacob Zuma's ex-wife, who narrowly lost the ANC's 2017 leadership contest to Ramaphosa, wrote on Twitter late on Wednesday.
Tourism Minister Lindiwe Sisulu, who has campaigned to be elected ANC leader this month, wrote: "CR MUST RESIGN NOW!" Ramaphosa delayed a scheduled appearance in parliament to answer questions from lawmakers on Thursday, asking the chairperson of parliament's upper house for time to "carefully consider ... the next course of action to be taken," a statement from parliament said.
The panel's recommendations are not binding on parliament, which is set to debate the report on Dec. 6 and where the ANC holds a majority of seats. If lawmakers decide to forge ahead with an impeachment process, the next stage would be the creation of an impeachment committee with far greater powers than the panel of experts appointed by the speaker. That committee would have the power to recommend Ramaphosa be removed from office.
(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)