South African President Cyril Ramaphosa Saturday announced through a spokesperson that he will not resign and will instead challenge a parliamentary report suggesting he may have illegaly concealed a crime at his private game farm. Ramaphosa’s announcement ends days of speculation over whether he would step down rather than face impeachment.
The report, drafted by two former judges and one lawyer, accused Ramaphosa of violating his oath of office by obsuring details of the 2020 robbery of $580,000 hidden inside a sofa at his farm. The fact that Ramaphosa concealed the money raised concerns about money laundering. Ramaphosa denied any wrongdoing and instead claimed that the funds were payment for 20 buffalo from a Sudanese businessman. The President claimed he reported the theft to the head of the Presidential Protection Service and assumed that a formal report would follow. He also claimed that he does not draw any salary from the game farm.
However, the report founds gaps in Ramaphosa’s story and concluded that he may have violated the South African Constitution’s prohibition on public officials conducting private business and breach anti-corruption laws.
Ramaphosa is a billionaire entrepreneur and was among Nelson Mandela’s closest allies. He is the current leader of the African National Congress – South Africa’s ruling party since the end of apartheid in 1994.