The South African leader’s future is in doubt amid scandals

Cyril Ramaphosa

Just last month the president was in the UK on a state visit where he met members of the British royal family

The future of South Africa’s president is in doubt as pressure mounts following an official report saying he may have violated the constitution.

Cyril Ramaphosa is accused of covering up the theft of large sums of money on his farm, which he denies.

His ANC party held crisis talks on Friday but were adjourned after just 45 minutes.

Party officials plan to meet the president on Saturday, ANC interim secretary-general Paul Mashatile said.

“The president was not present at the meeting. He is busy consulting and therefore, as far as we are concerned, the question of whether or not the president has expressed his intention to resign has not arisen,” said Mashatile.

What was in the report?

The scandal centers on claims the president tried to cover up the theft of around $580,000 (£470,000) – and possibly much more – that was hidden behind the back of a sofa at his farmhouse nearly three years ago. This has led to questions about where the money came from.

Mr Ramaphosa denies wrongdoing and said the money came from his farm from the sale of buffaloes.

However, the buffaloes he claimed to have been sold remain on his farm and South Africa has strict rules on holding foreign currency, saying it cannot be held for longer than 30 days.

An independent panel of legal experts looked into the allegations for the South African parliament and concluded that the president may have broken the law and abused his position.

Despite the support of some in his party, others are calling for Ramaphosa to leave.

However, even if his party supports him, Ramaphosa could still be deposed by parliament, provided he is found guilty of serious misconduct and a vote is held to remove him from office. But that requires a two-thirds majority and ANC lawmakers would likely block him if the party says he should stay in office.

The scandal is particularly damaging to Ramaphosa because he came to power vowing to stamp out the corruption that had dogged the country under his predecessor, Jacob Zuma.

The ANC remains deeply divided between supporters of Zuma and those who support Ramaphosa.

What if Ramaphosa leaves?

Mr. Ramaphosa is said to have first stepped down as ANC leader, before stepping down as president of the country.

According to the constitution, if the president falls ill or leaves office, the vice president should take over.

However, the current vice president, David Mabuza, is not very popular within the party and has also been accused of corruption, which he also denies.

So, as the party with the majority in parliament, the ANC could decide to choose someone else.

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