World South African president Ramaphosa to run again despite corruption...

South African president Ramaphosa to run again despite corruption report

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Dec. 3 (BP) — After previously signaling he would resign, South African President Cyril Ramaphosa confirmed on Saturday that he will not leave office and instead run for a second presidential term.

This comes after Ramaphosa spoke with top members of his National African Congress party, which holds its elective conference in two weeks.

The 70-year-old was accused of snubbing the ANC’s National Executive Committee during a meeting on Friday. That meeting was then quickly adjourned after Ramaphosa failed to appear.

Ramaphosa is weighing a court challenge to a possible impeachment charge, after an independent investigation determined he allegedly tried to cover up a $4 million robbery at his farm two years ago in an effort to abscond with some of the money.

Ramaphosa, who was elected president in 2018 on an anti-corruption platform, denied any wrongdoing in what has become known as the “Farmgate” scandal, claiming that nearly $600,000 in cash found stuffed in sofa cushions at his Phala Phala game farm in the country’s northeast were proceeds from buffalo sales.

The report also alleges those buffalo were still on the property after the robbery and questions the source of the money.

ANC party leaders are meeting in Johannesburg over the weekend in response to the panel’s findings, before a vote Tuesday in Parliament on whether or not to adopt the report.

The extensive report released Wednesday by an independent South African investigative committee accuses Ramaphosa of concealing the $4 million heist and then pressuring the Namibian president into silencing the suspects following their arrests.

He offered to resign on Thursday, but has since done an about-face.

“It may be in the long-term interest and sustainability of our constitutional democracy, well beyond the Ramaphosa presidency, that such a clearly flawed report is challenged, especially when it’s being used to remove a sitting head of state,” presidential spokesman Vincent Magwenya said on Saturday.

Ramaphosa contends independent report contains inconsistencies and hearsay evidence against him.

Some legal experts have also been skeptical of the report, making a distinction between political corruption and theft under a particular section of South African law under which Rampahosa is accused.

“I have a lot of respect for Justice Ngcobo but s34(1) of the Prevention and Combating Corrupt Activities imposes a duty to report corrupt activities and not theft of money at your own place,” Thuli Madonsela, director of the Center for Social Justice at Stellenbosch University near Capetown said on Twitter.

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