South African parliament votes against impeachment of Ramaphosa

JOHANNESBURG: South Africa’s parliament has voted against opening impeachment proceedings against President Cyril Ramaphosa following a report that he held undeclared foreign currency on his farm in 2020.
Lawmakers voted 214 to 148 against the decision to impeach Ramaphosa.
The ruling African National Congress party, which holds a majority in parliament, largely sided with Ramaphosa, preventing the motion from winning the two-thirds of the votes needed to impeach him.
Four ANC MPs, however, showed their opposition to Ramaphosa by voting for impeachment and a few others did not turn up for the vote.
The crucial vote came after a damning parliamentary report alleged Ramaphosa illegally stashed at least $580,000 in cash in a couch at his Phala Phala gambling ranch.
He said he did not report the theft of the money to the police to avoid questions about how he obtained the foreign currency and why he did not report it to authorities.
The report caused Ramaphosa’s opponents – from opposition parties and even rivals within his ANC party – to call on him to step down.
At least four ANC lawmakers broke ranks with the party line and voted with opposition parties in favor of the impeachment process, including Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, currently Ramaphosa’s cabinet minister and top leader of the ANC.
Dlamini-Zuma lost to Ramaphosa for the ANC presidency at its last national conference in 2017.
Other notable figures who voted for Ramaphosa’s impeachment were Supra Mahumapelo and Mosebenzi Zwane, Ramaphosa’s known rivals and allies of former President Jacob Zuma, indicating the extent of divisions within the ANC.
During the Tuesday session.
ANC lawmakers argued that the panel that drafted the report had not presented enough evidence to warrant impeachment of Ramaphosa.
They said other law enforcement agencies are still investigating the matter.
They also cited Ramaphosa’s request for a judicial review of the report, saying parliament should await the outcome of that process before proceeding with any action against the president.
The parliamentary vote comes in a week when Ramaphosa will also be fighting for his political life as he seeks re-election as head of the ANC at its national conference which kicks off in Johannesburg on Friday.
The conference will also elect the members of the party’s National Executive Committee, which is the party’s highest decision-making body.
Ramaphosa must be re-elected as head of the ANC in order to run for a second term as South Africa’s president in 2024.


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