S Africa’s parliament votes against Ramaphosa impeachment move

Majority of parliament voted not to initiate impeachment proceedings against the president over alleged misconduct and violation of oath of office.

Members of South Africa's parliament attend a debate on a report by a panel of experts who found that President Cyril Ramaphosa may have violated his oath of office, in Cape Town, South Africa [Esa Alexander/Reuters]

South Africa’s parliament has voted against starting impeachment proceedings against President Cyril Ramaphosa over a report that says he held undeclared foreign currency at his farm in 2020.

The legislators voted 214 to 148 against the move to impeach Ramaphosa on Tuesday. The ruling African National Congress (ANC) party, which holds a majority in the parliament, largely stood with Ramaphosa, preventing the motion from getting the two-thirds vote needed to proceed with impeachment.

Four ANC members of parliament, however, showed their opposition to Ramaphosa by voting in favour of impeachment and a few more did not show up for the vote.

The crucial vote came after a damning parliamentary report alleged that Ramaphosa illegally hid at least $580,000 in cash in a sofa at his Phala Phala game ranch. It said he did not report the theft of the money to the police in order to avoid questions over how he got the foreign currency and why he had not declared it to authorities.

The report has brought Ramaphosa’s opponents – opposition parties and even rivals within his ANC party – to call for him to step down.

The parliamentary vote comes in a week where Ramaphosa will also be fighting for his political life as he seeks to be re-elected the leader of the ANC at its national conference starting in Johannesburg on Friday.

The conference will also elect members of the party’s National Executive Committee, which is the party’s highest decision-making body.

Ramaphosa must be re-elected as the ANC leader in order to stand for re-election to a second term as South Africa’s president in 2024.

Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies