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PoliticsSouth Africa

South Africa: President Ramaphosa avoids impeachment vote

December 13, 2022

A majority of MPs in the National Assembly have voted against adopting a report that could have seen impeachment proceedings begin. Cyril Ramaphosa has been under pressure over cash found at his private farm.

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa
President Cyril Ramaphosa has managed to avoid the possibility of impeachment proceedings being initiated after a vote in parliamentImage: Jerome Delay/AP Photo/picture alliance

South Africa's President Cyril Ramaphosa on Tuesday survived a parliamentary vote that could have resulted in impeachment proceeding being initiated.

The ruling African National Congress (ANC) comfortably defeated the motion by 214 votes to 148. Four members of his party broke ranks and voted to impeach their leader.

Ramaphosa's party rival, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, who is a cabinet minister and ex-wife of the former president Jacob Zuma, was among those who voted for impeachment.

South Africa's president faces calls to resign

Not enough evidence to impeach Ramaphosa — ANC

The vote followed a debate over the findings of an independent panel's report which found "prima facie" evidence that Ramaphosa violated his oath of office and breached anti-corruption laws.

ANC lawmakers argued there wasn't enough evidence warranting impeaching the president and said it was still the subject of investigation involving other law enforcement agencies.

The president has faced severe scrutiny over an alleged cover-up of a theft that took place at his private farm, Phala Phala, in 2020.

An estimated $4 million (€3.85 million) in cash was stolen, raising questions about how the president acquired the cash and whether he had declared it.

Ramaphosa says the money was payment for buffaloes bought by a Sudanese businessman, who confirmed the transaction in interviews with British media.

Ramaphosa seeks to continue leading ANC

The president is now poised to secure re-election as leader of the ANC in a party conference to be held later this week, a necessary step for him to stand for re-election as the country's president in 2024.

Opposition parties meanwhile have voiced their concerns following the outcome of the vote, with the Democratic Alliance (DA) drawing parallels with former President Jacob Zuma's administration.

"Ramaphosa is no different from his predecessor," DA leader John Steenhuisen said and called for an inquiry into what he called the Phala Phala "farmgate scandal."

Firebrand leader of the Economic Freedom Fighters, Julius Malema expressed his disappointment before the National Assembly and accused Ramaphosa of "engaging in questionable activities." He labeled the president "an enemy of the constitution of South Africa."

kb/msh (AFP, Reuters, AP)