Ramaphosa today. Photo: Marco Longari/AFP via Getty Images
The executive committee of South Africa’s ruling party, the African National Congress (ANC), has decided to back President Cyril Ramaphosa following emergency meetings on Monday after an independent panel recommended he do so. subject of an impeachment inquiry over the “Farmgate” scandal.
Why is this important: Ramaphosa decided to quit last Thursday before his allies convinced him to fight, the Mail and Guardian reports. He now looks likely to avoid impeachment, but he will still have to navigate further investigations and convince his fractured party to re-elect him as leader at a nominating conference in two weeks.
How did it happen: It emerged in June 2020 that burglars allegedly stole a huge sum of cash that had been stuffed into a sofa at Ramaphosa’s private ranch.
- This raised questions about where Ramaphosa got the money (he says it came from the sale of bison and was much less than the $4 million originally reported), why it was hidden in a sofa, why it had not been declared and why instead of reporting the theft, he would have sent members of his security service to find the perpetrators.
- The panel investigating the case did not find Ramaphosa’s explanations satisfactory, but ANC leaders on Monday told their lawmakers to vote against impeachment, meaning he will likely avoid becoming South Africa’s first ever deposed president.
- Ramaphosa also asked the constitutional court to dismiss the report.
The big picture: Ramaphosa, a former confidant of Nelson Mandela who made his fortune in business before returning to politics, had been seen as a reformer in a party marred by corruption scandals and the ANC’s best chance to reverse its course downward policy ahead of the 2024 election.