South Africa’s president survives impeachment challenge following corruption accusations

South Africa's president on Tuesday survived an opposition motion to start an impeachment process against him, after an independent panel found he may have violated the Constitution.

An independent panel led by former Chief Justice Sandile Ngcobo released a report last month that found Cyril Ramaphosa guilty of not reporting the theft of $ 580,000 at his private farm in the Limpopo province in 2020.

Lawmakers debated the report in parliament, with the opposition requesting a secret vote but National Assembly Speaker Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula turning this down.

She instead ruled the clerk would reads out member’s names one by one and they would respond either in favor or against the motion.

“Those who voted no are 214, yes 148, and 2 abstained,” Mapisa-Nqakula announced.

Floyd Shivambu, deputy head of the Economic Freedom Fighters party (EFF), said they were opposed to this voting system and would take the issue to court.

John Steenhuisen, leader of the main opposition Democratic Alliance said some members of the governing African National Congress (ANC) would want to vote against Ramaphosa but feared losing their positions as the vote is not secret.

The ANC’s top decision-making body, its National Executive Committee, last week decided that all its members of parliament should vote in support of Ramaphosa.

But five of its MPs, including Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, the former African Union commission chair and current minister of co-operative governance and traditional affairs, voted in favor of the impeachment.

The ANC, which has governed South Africa since the end of apartheid in 1994, has 230 out of the 400 seats in parliament.

Ramaphosa, who is seeking reelection this month as the ANC’s leader, has denied any wrongdoing, saying the money stolen from his farm was from the “proceeds from the sale of game.”

“I have never stolen taxpayers’ money. I want to reaffirm that I was not involved in any criminal conduct,” said Ramaphosa, who last week approached the Constitutional Court to have the panel report reviewed.

Julius Malema, leader of the radical EFF party, told reporters outside parliament. “The ANC has abused its majority to stop holding the executive to account.’’

Source: Anadolu Agency