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South Africa“s parliament to debate Ramaphosa “Farmgate“ report


South African President Cyril Ramaphosa speaks at the Summit on Economic Empowerment for Persons with Disabilities in Johannesburg, South Africa, December 8, 2022. REUTERS/Sumaya Hisham

South Africa’s parliament was on Tuesday set to debate a report by a panel of experts that found preliminary evidence President Cyril Ramaphosa may have committed misconduct over a stash of foreign currency hidden at his private game farm.

Ramaphosa has denied wrongdoing over the scandal, which has been dubbed “Farmgate” by the media. He has challenged the report in court and not been charged with any crime, but some opponents have called for his resignation.

Later on Tuesday lawmakers will vote on whether to adopt the panel report, which would trigger the start of an impeachment process.

But the vote is not expected to pass, after the governing African National Congress (ANC) party – which has a majority of seats in the National Assembly – last week told its parliamentary caucus to reject it.

The vote comes days before an ANC leadership contest that will decide whether Ramaphosa gets to run for a second term on the party ticket at a 2024 election.

The foreign currency hidden in furniture at Ramaphosa’s Phala Phala game farm was stolen in 2020 but only came to light in June. The theft has raised questions about how Ramaphosa, who came to power on the promise to fight graft, acquired the money and whether he declared it.

Ramaphosa has said a much smaller amount of money than the millions of dollars reported was taken and that it was the proceeds of game sales. He said he reported the theft when he heard about it, contrary to allegations.