South Africa: Panel to Probe Pres. Ramaphosa Over 'Farmgate'

Photo: AFP [via Al Jazeera]

The Facts

  • South Africa's parliament on Wednesday appointed an independent panel to determine whether Pres. Cyril Ramaphosa should face impeachment over an alleged cover-up of a theft at his extravagant farmhouse.

  • The probe comes after former national spy boss, Arthur Fraser, accused Ramaphosa - after robbers allegedly stole $4M stashed in furniture - of kidnapping, questioning, and bribing the accused thieves to stay silent instead of alerting police.

The Spin

Narrative A

This isn't an independent evaluation of the severity of the accusations against Ramaphosa. Prof. Calland has a long, public record of overtly supporting Ramaphosa, and his presence on a three-person panel brings an immediate bias and conflict of interest. This panel should be genuinely autonomous.

Narrative B

The important work of this panel should go on. Prof. Calland is a distinguished professional who's devoted his career to improving and strengthening South Africa's democracy. Regardless of the professor's previous statements, such accusations by the president's opposition undermine an important and transparent process.

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