South Africa’s president to ‘step aside’ if criminally charged: Spokesman

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa would “step aside” if he is charged for the alleged criminal cover-up of millions of dollars stolen from his private farm two years ago, his spokesman said.

“Should the president be charged, he will gladly step aside,” Vincent Magwenya told reporters in the capital Pretoria on Sunday.

Magwenya said that at the moment, there are no criminal charges against the president but a series of investigations that he is fully cooperating with and he will continue to do so until those investigations are concluded.

Opposition politicians and some members of the ruling African National Congress (ANC) which Ramaphosa leads have been making calls for him to step aside pending investigations into accusations of money laundering.

The calls came at a time when Ramaphosa will be seeking reelection as leader of the ANC at the party’s elective conference next month.

The robbery at his Phala Phala farm in Limpopo province took place two years ago but only came to public knowledge in April.

Former intelligence chief Arthur Fraser brought the matter to public knowledge when he filed a criminal complaint against Ramaphosa, accusing him of money laundering and not reporting the robbery at his farm.

It is alleged that an estimated $4 million was stolen from his farm. This created outrage among South Africans, who questioned why there was so much foreign currency at the president’s farm.

Ramaphosa said the stolen money was the “proceeds from the sale of game” at his farm and not from taxpayers.

“I have never stolen taxpayers’ money. I want to reaffirm that I was not involved in any criminal conduct,” he added.

Source: Anadolu Agency