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Ramaphosa 'plays tough' into allegations of breaching anti-graft laws

South Africa's President Cyril Ramaphosa arrives at 10 Downing Street to meet Britain's Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, in London, Wednesday, Nov. 23, 2022.   -  
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Alberto Pezzali/Copyright 2022 The AP. All rights reserved

South Africa

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa is facing serious calls to step down after a parliamentary probe found he may have breached the country’s anti-corruption laws related to the theft of millions of dollars at his Phala Phala game farm.

This follows allegations laid by the country’s former head of intelligence, Arthur Fraser, that Ramaphosa tried to conceal the theft of millions of dollars at his farm in 2020.

Ramaphosa was due to appear in parliament on Thursday and answer questions but instead postponed.

Dr. Dale T. McKinley, an independent political analyst, said that "the evidence seems to be overwhelming" in lieu of all the evidence having been presented.

"I think it's really the way in which he's approached it," McKinley said of Ramaphosa.

Ramaphosa approached it in "a very secretive, very non-disclosing kind of way" that will "permanently" damage his "political legitimacy" McKinley said.

In its report, the parliamentary panel raised questions about the source of the money and why it wasn’t disclosed to financial authorities, and cited a potential conflict between the president’s business and official interests.

Ramaphosa has denied any wrongdoing, insisting that the money was proceeds from the sale of animals at his farm.

But opposition parties and Ramaphosa’s detractors in the ruling African National Congress party have called for him to step down.

The South African rand has fallen amid the uncertainty.

"I don't see Cyril Ramaphosa stepping aside unless he's charged. If he's charged, he's got to. He has to," McKinley said.

Lawmakers are expected to debate the report on Tuesday, and they will vote on whether further action should be taken, including whether to proceed with impeachment proceedings.

ANC lawmakers are a majority in Parliament and may push back against attempts to impeach their leader.

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