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South African president’s future uncertain over cash-in-couch scandal

Ramaphosa “is seen as a man of integrity in a party tainted by years of corruption scandals and mismanagement,” said Pauline Bax, deputy director of the Africa program at the International Crisis Group think tank. “This will deepen the division at a time when there is no clear successor.”

Ramaphosa consistently outranks the ANC in opinion polls and was widely regarded as the party’s best chance at countering a sharp fall in its electoral support, which last year’s local elections saw for the first time since the first elections in the country. country fell below 50 percent. elections for all races, in 1994.

Judge Malala, a leading political commentator, said the country is going through a second major political transition as voters leave the ANC. Ramaphosa’s main weakness is not facing that reality, he said.

“Cyril rejoined the ANC knowing what it had become,” he said, adding: “He was trying to give his colleagues some dignity and not send them to prison, and they saw that as weakness.”

“This case is all about getting rid of him and stopping his reform agenda,” Malala said. “The ANC may have some good people, but it is so swallowed up – consumed – by greed and corruption and power struggles that it is unable to renew itself. . . . It is in agony.”

The ANC leaders’ conference is scheduled for this month, and Ramaphosa looked assured of a landslide victory after taking just over half the vote from ANC party branches. Whoever wins represents the ANC in the next election.

His main challenger, former health minister Zweli Mkhize, trailed him with nearly a quarter of the vote. Mkhize resigned last year after being involved in a corruption scandal over coronavirus-related contracts awarded to a communications company controlled by former employees, but has not been charged.

Lesiba Teffo, a political analyst at the University of South Africa, said the ANC probably knows that without Ramaphosa it will lose heavily in the polls in 2024.

“Even his opponents know they need him for the next election,” Teffo said. “The ANC knows that if they recall him, it will hurt the country and weaken the ANC even more in the election. It is a political conundrum for the ANC. Despite the mistakes he made, he still has a lot of credibility and support.”

The current political turmoil stems from a long-running investigation into a shady cash theft from Ramaphosa’s Phala Phala farm. He said the money, hidden in a bank, came from the sale of buffalo to a Sudanese businessman in 2019.

But the panel headed by former Chief Justice Sandile Ngcobo questioned that statement, asking why a foreigner would bring half a million dollars in cash to South Africa, visit the farm on Christmas Day without prior appointment, pay in cash and than would leave without ever leaving. claim the buffaloes.

The panel also asked why the money was left there for 40 days instead of being deposited in a bank and why no one could provide contact details or identification documents of the Sudanese businessman, who has had no contact for the past 21/2. year. The theft — and that Ramaphosa reportedly failed to report it to police — raised questions about whether the money was obtained improperly, the panel said.

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Ramaphosa claimed he had reported the theft to authorities since he told the head of his protection unit, Major General Wally Rhoode, who is with the police. But the report said that wasn’t enough, noting that the incident only became public after a former spy chief linked to Ramaphosa’s rival Zuma announced he had pressed charges against the president and others over the matter, sparking a media frenzy. .

The political turbulence comes as South Africa struggles with low economic growth, massive power outages, high unemployment and rampant crime. The South African rand is down 4 percent against the dollar since the report was released Wednesday, according to data from Bloomberg, amid uncertainty about the country’s leadership and the future of economic restructuring.

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Merry

Merry C. Vega is a highly respected and accomplished news author. She began her career as a journalist, covering local news for a small-town newspaper. She quickly gained a reputation for her thorough reporting and ability to uncover the truth.

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