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South African President Ramaphosa will not be charged in the cash sofa scandal | CNN


South African President Ramaphosa survived a move to start impeachment proceedings against him in a vote in parliament on Tuesday.

The move was widely expected after the top ruling leaders of the African National Congress (ANC) called on their parliamentary caucus to block the inquiry.

One by one, MPs were asked to cast their vote in person after requests to hold the vote in secret were dismissed by the Speaker of Parliament.

There were some ‘yes’ votes from ANC members and a couple of no-shows, but their group largely stuck together. Opposition parties were mostly unified in calling for an impeachment inquiry. Voting required a simple majority.

The vote came after an independent panel found there is initial evidence that he may have violated his oath of office.

The findings relate to an ongoing scandal involving the theft of more than $500,000 in cash from his private game farm in 2020. The cash was stuffed inside a leather sofa according to the panel’s investigation.

The panel, led by a former chief justice, found that the crime was not reported to the police and that there was a ‘deliberate decision to keep the investigation secret’.

After initial speculation that he would resign, Ramaphosa’s lawyers attempted to challenge the panel’s findings in court. The president has repeatedly denied allegations that the money came from the sale of wildlife on his Phala Phala farm.

Later this week, the president will participate in an elective conference of the ANC, where he is expected to win.

The vote was preceded by a lively debate in which opposition party leaders criticized both the president for failing to provide a fuller explanation of the cash and the ANC committee for endorsing it.

“They are so desperate to avoid any kind of investigation into the crimes that occurred on and in connection with the Phala Phala estate that they have decided to spit in the face of the freedoms and institutions for which so many people fought and died,” he said. Julius Malema, the leader of the Economic Freedom Fighters.

“As long as you have the numbers in parliament, you can make any scandal go away and if this is how you intend to vote today, in a unified shield against accountability and oversight, just as you did in the days of Zuma, then it’s your fault. said John Steenhuisen, the leader of the official opposition Democratic Alliance, referring to Ramaphosa’s predecessor, Jacob Zuma, who was never censured by parliament but was eventually forced to resign after a corruption scandal.

ANC members said the report did not provide enough evidence to move towards impeachment proceedings. The president could still face multiple investigations outside of parliament.

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