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S.Africa's Ramaphosa files suit over damning report

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa answers questions in Parliament Cape Town, South Africa, Thursday, Sept. 29, 2022.   -  
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Nardus Engelbrecht/Copyright 2022 The AP. All rights reserved.

South Africa

South Africa's president Cyril Ramaphosa has taken a case to the Constitutional Court to overturn a parliamentary report accusing him of a corruption scandal whose findings have paved the way for impeachment proceedings against him.

In a document submitted to the supreme court, a copy of which was obtained by AFP on Monday, the head of state demanded that the report submitted to parliament on Wednesday be "reviewed, declared illegal and not taken into account", while the report is still pending.  

The 70-year-old Ramaphosa, who has been embarrassed by the scandal for several months, is accused of trying to cover up a burglary at one of his properties in 2020 by not declaring it to the police or tax authorities. The criminals took $580,000 in cash, hidden under the cushions of a sofa.

An independent commission appointed by parliament and headed by a former president of the Constitutional Court concluded last week that the president "may have committed" acts contrary to the law and the Constitution in connection with the case.

The report paved the way for impeachment proceedings. 

Parliament is meeting in a special session on Tuesday ahead of the summer recess in the southern hemisphere and is due to vote on whether to launch the process, although the ANC, despite strong divisions, holds a comfortable majority in parliament.

A criminal investigation is also underway. The president has not been charged at this stage.

The affair almost pushed Mr Ramaphosa to resign before a reversal over the weekend. After several days of uncertainty, his spokesman said the president would fight to stay in office. 

The leaders of the historic ruling party, the ANC, met on Monday in Johannesburg to discuss the fate of Cyril Ramaphosa. 

The ANC meets on December 16 to designate its next president in 2024, if the party, increasingly contested, was winner of the legislative. The ANC, which has had a majority in parliament since 1994, has been plagued by corruption and factional warfare and has chosen the head of state since the advent of South African democracy.more soon

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