President hands in Section 89 submissions
President hands in Section 89 submissions Photo: The Presidency

JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) – At least 80 senior officials in South Africa’s ruling African National Congress (ANC) are gathering today to decide whether President Cyril Ramaphosa should stay on after an inquiry found evidence of misconduct over cash hidden at his farm.

The ANC announced that officials from its most senior entity, the National Executive Committee (NEC), were meeting at the party’s headquarters in Nasrec.

The president’s future has been in doubt since a report by a panel of experts was made public on Wednesday. The inquiry was investigating the alleged theft of millions of dollars of cash stuffed into furniture in the millionaire president’s Phala Phala game farm in 2020.

The theft, which only came to light in June, has raised awkward questions about how Ramaphosa acquired the money, why he wasn’t keeping it in a bank and whether or not it had been declared to authorities – uncomfortable for a leader who came to power in 2017 on a promise to fight endemic corruption.

Ramaphosa has denied any wrongdoing and has not been charged with any crime. The president has said the money was much less than the $4 million to $8 million reported, and that it was the proceeds of game sales at the farm.

President to make an announcement soon

Presidential spokesperson, Vincent Magwenya, says President Ramaphosa is still engaging stakeholders with regards to the way forward following the findings by an Independent Section 89 panel that the President may have violated his oath of office.

At a media briefing last night, Magwenya said the President is cognisant of the urgency of addressing the nation in this regard.

“The President appreciates the urgency of this matter. The President appreciates the enormity of this issue… what it means for the country, the stability of government and as a result of that, he is still processing the report.

“But in that exercise, he’s also engaging a number of role players and stakeholders across the governing party, different levels of the governing party, different levels of the alliance and he’s engaging a broad range of stakeholders, and this is in appreciation of the enormity of the matter,” Magwenya said.

Last night ANC Chairman Gwede Mantashe denied reports that Ramaphosa will resign.

Magwenya has assured South Africans that President Ramaphosa will address the nation in due course.

“We are in an unprecedented and extraordinary moment as a constitutional democracy as a result of the report and therefore, whatever [decision] the President makes, that decision has to be informed by the best interest of the country and that decision cannot be rushed and cannot be taken in haste.

“An announcement is imminent because the President will need to indicate to the country the course of action he will take going forward,” the spokesperson said.

The SABC reports that the South African Chamber of Commerce in the US has expressed grave concern regarding the findings of the Section 89 panel. It says a possible resignation by President Cyril Ramaphosa would have devastating implications on the economy.

Sources: Reuters and