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Ramaphosa must take full accountability in farmgate scandal, Corruption Watch says

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Anti-corruption body, Corruption Watch, has said the Phala Phala farm robbery scandal hanging over President Cyril Ramaphosa has hampered his ability to lead South Africa and has eroded public trust in him.

It urged Ramaphosa on Friday to take full accountability in the Phala Phala matter related to a 2020 robbery of R9.8 million in foreign currency on the president’s farm, which he earned from the sale of game in 2019.

Read all our Ramaphosa crisis coverage here.

Ramaphosa now faces threats of impeachment following the release of the Section 89 independent panel report on Wednesday that concluded he may have violated the Constitution, citing that he has a case to answer.

Corruption Watch, one of South Africa’s leading anti-corruption organisations, called for parliament and other institutions with oversight over democratic processes to address the Phala Phala crisis as a matter of priority.

Karam Singh, executive director of Corruption Watch, said no one should be allowed to act with impunity.

“For a President to be charged with such serious violations of the laws of the land is yet another crisis for a country already struggling to overcome a slew of challenges, many of them related to corruption,” Singh said.

“It is supremely important that the President, who holds the highest office in the land, is held to the same standards and processes as everyone else,” said Singh.

He said the president’s decisions to resign, if he elects to, should be in the name of accountability and democratic governance principles.

On Thursday Ramaphosa mulled resignation and took consultations with advisors on the findings of the report.

That move, would not be the most strategic, Professor Bonke Dumisa, an independent economic analyst, told Moneyweb.

“Politically, resignation would be comfortable [for] many in the ANC. However, for him personally, I do not believe that it would be a strategic move because this Section 89 independent panel report, uses the word “may” many a time,”

Dumisa said rather than succumb to pressure from opposition parties to resign, he should let the impeachment process unfold, citing that it would be the forum that allows him to clarify his position.

He added that it would further batter the rand, which yesterday slumped over 4.4% in the afternoon to trade at R17.96 against the US dollar. On Friday it had pared some of its losses, strengthening 1.29% at 14.p.m to trade at R17.39.

Rand/dollar exchange rate

Listen: Ramaphosa and the rand

A resignation would also weigh on the ANC, Dumisa said, which is scheduled to hold its elective conferences to elect a new leader for the party between 16 and 20 December 2022.

“It would be more strategic for the president to wait for the impeachment process. The impeachment process then, is more thorough, I’m not so sure if that process will actually lead to real impeachment for him,” he said.

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