Ramaphosa under scrutiny

An independent commission has been set up by the South African parliament to look into a burglary case involving the country’s president, Cyril Ramaphosa. 

What’s the case about? 

The burglary took place in 2020 at one of Ramaphosa’s properties and in the process, large sums of cash were found hidden in furniture. The burglary remained unknown to the authorities until a complaint in June by the country’s former intelligence chief, Arthur Fraser. Ramaphosa is accused of possible wrongdoing for not reporting the burglary to the police and for concealing the money found there from the tax authorities. He is also accused of organising the abduction and interrogation of the burglars and then bribing them to keep quiet. 

What does this mean for the president? 

Made up of former Constitutional Court president Sandile Ngcobo, a former judge and a university professor, the commission is to report its findings, and conclusion on possible wrongdoing by Ramaphosa, within 30 days. If found guilty, Ramaphosa faces a possible impeachment vote in the parliament. The case leaves the president’s bid for a second term hanging in the balance, just months before his party (ANC) decides whether to present him as a candidate in the 2024 presidential elections. 

What’s his response to the allegations? 

Ramaphosa denies the kidnapping and bribery allegations and maintains that the money found was from the sale of livestock. Following a public inquiry launched against him in June, Ramaphosa suspended the country’s top anti-corruption watchdog, Busisiwe Mkhwebane – a suspension that has been deemed “inappropriate” and overturned last week by a court. 

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