Lawmakers are expected to debate the report on Tuesday, and they will vote on whether further action should be taken, including whether to proceed with impeachment proceedings. ANC lawmakers are a majority in Parliament and may push back against attempts to impeach their leader.
“The president appreciates the enormity of this issue and what it means for the country and the stability of government,” Ramaphosa’s spokesperson Vincent Magwenya told reporters, saying the president is still processing” the report. “We are in an unprecedented and extraordinary moment as a constitutional democracy as a result of the report, and therefore whatever decision the president takes, it has to be informed by the best interest of the country. That decision cannot be rushed,” Magwenya said.
According to the parliamentary report, Ramaphosa claimed the stolen money amounted to $580,000, disputing the initial amount of $4 million that Fraser alleged was stolen.
The report also questioned Ramaphosa’s explanation that the money was from the sale of buffaloes to a Sudanese businessman, Mustafa Mohamed Ibrahim Hazim, asking why the animals remained at the farm more than two years later.
The report said an investigation by the central bank suggested there were no records of the dollars entering the country. “We are unable to investigate or verify the source of the foreign currency,” it states.
The parliamentary panel said Ramaphosa put himself into a situation of conflict of interest, saying the evidence presented to it “establishes that the president may be guilty of a serious violation of certain sections of the constitution.”
The report criticized Ramaphosa for failing to inform the police in line with proper procedures, choosing instead to entrust the matter to the head of his presidential protection unit.
The main opposition party, the Democratic Alliance, is among those calling for Ramaphosa’s impeachment.
“President Ramaphosa most likely did breach a number of constitutional provisions and has a case to answer. Impeachment proceedings into his conduct must go ahead, and he will have to offer far better, more comprehensive explanations than we have been given so far,” Democratic Alliance leader John Steenhuisen said.
Political analyst Dale McKinley said he was not convinced there is enough information to force Ramaphosa to resign.
“I don’t see Cyril Ramaphosa stepping aside unless he is charged. If he is charged, he is going to have to swallow it and basically do that,” McKinley said. “If he does not get charged and it is simply just this impeachment process, my sense is that … he will try to shore up his base and ride it out. I might be wrong, but I think politicians, their first instinct is survival.”