JOHANNESBURG (UKTN) — A crucial meeting of the ruling party of the South African National Congress to discuss the future of President Cyril Ramaphosa began in Johannesburg on Monday, party officials confirmed.
The assembly is expected to decide whether Ramaphosa should remain as leader or step down following a damning parliamentary report on the theft of large sums of dollars from his farm in 2020.
The report was produced by an independent panel appointed to investigate allegations by former intelligence chief Arthur Fraser that Ramaphosa attempted to cover up the theft of an estimated $4 million from his Phala Phala farm in Limpopo province. .
Fraser accused Ramaphosa of money laundering and violating the country’s tax and exchange laws.
The ANC meeting will take place a day before lawmakers will debate the report and vote on whether to launch impeachment proceedings against the president.
Ramaphosa is facing calls from his opponents within the party and from opposition parties to resign after the report suggested he may have violated anti-corruption laws by failing to properly report the theft to police and raised questions about the source of the money.
Ramaphosa has denied any wrongdoing, claiming that the money came from selling animals on his farm and that he reported the matter to the head of his presidential protection unit.
The assembly must decide on the way forward on the matter and will instruct its lawmakers in parliament on how to handle Tuesday’s parliamentary debate and vote, ANC spokesman Pule Mabe told reporters on Monday.
“We know that the publication of the Section 89 report has generated great public interest as it relates to the future of the African National Congress and its leader, in the person of the President.
“We can assure you that the ANC is capable of managing all of this, we have done that in the past and we will do that now,” said Mabe.
Ramaphosa briefly attended the meeting and withdrew because it discussed an issue that concerned him personally, Mabe said.
Ramaphosa was also withdrawn from a meeting of the party’s national working committee that took place on Sunday.
The ANC’s National Executive Committee, with 86 members, is the party’s highest decision-making body and has the power to force the president to resign and to instruct his lawmakers on how to vote on various matters.
The ANC still holds a majority of seats in parliament, enough to block a vote by all opposition parties to launch impeachment proceedings against Ramaphosa.
Earlier, President Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula announced that a request from one of the opposition parties to hold a secret ballot has been rejected by parliament.