South Africa: Ramaphosa's Future in Balance Over 'Farmgate' Scandal

    Photo: AFP/Getty Images [via The Guardian]

    The Facts

    • An independent three-person panel, appointed by South Africa's National Assembly speaker Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula in September, submitted a report to parliament on Wednesday claiming that Pres. Cyril Ramaphosa may be guilty of "a serious violation" of the constitution.

    • This comes after Arthur Fraser, the former head of state security and a political foe of the president, filed a criminal complaint in June alleging that Ramaphosa ordered an off-the-books investigation into the theft of millions of dollars he allegedly stashed at his game farm.

    The Spin

    Narrative A

    This report should be the final nail in the coffin for the Ramaphosa administration, which has been facing major administrative and economic challenges. Having campaigned on fighting corruption and returning to ethical governance, the president must step aside now that he faces potential criminal investigations. He's lost the moral authority to govern South Africa.

    Narrative B

    These findings have seriously damaged the president's reputation and the ANC — potentially throwing the party into unprecedented chaos and leaving no good alternatives. But while Ramaphosa staying in power could anger voters ahead of the 2024 elections, staying put seems to be the "least-bad" option amid uncertainties about who would replace him.

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