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South Africa’s president has been exonerated in farm cash scandal



South Africa's president has been exonerated in the farm cash scandal

The country’s ombudswoman announced on Friday that South Africa’s President Cyril Ramaphosa has been cleared of charges of misconduct and betraying the honour of his office in a burglary scandal that nearly cost him his job last year.

The scandal erupted in June 2022, when the former head of intelligence filed a complaint accusing Ramaphosa of concealing the theft of millions of dollars by burglars in 2020 beneath the cushions of a sofa in one of his properties.

According to Africa News, investigations were launched at the time by the police and the Ombudsman, Kholeka Gcaleka. In the complaint, Ramaphosa was also accused of buying the silence of burglars who had discovered these sums, raising suspicions of money laundering and corruption.

The Ombudsman, also known as the Public Protector, determined that Ramaphosa’s actions in this case did not violate the Constitution.

“In light of the standards imposed by the executive’s code of ethics,” Kholeka Gcaleka told the press in Pretoria, “there is no basis for concluding that the President has breached” the relevant provisions of the law, “including during the period following the alleged theft of dollars.”

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The Office of the Public Protector is a constitutionally mandated independent institution tasked with investigating and reporting any misconduct or wrongdoing within the government “without fear, favour, or prejudice.” However, it lacks the authority to prosecute.

Ramaphosa has always denied any wrongdoing in this matter, claiming that the money, $580,000 in cash, came from the sale of buffalo from his farm, according to Africa News.

A parliamentary committee determined last year that he “may have committed” “violations and faults” in this matter. Parliament later decided not to pursue impeachment proceedings, which could have forced him to resign.

The president, a former trade union leader who became a business tycoon after apartheid, took office in 2018, promising a “new dawn” after his predecessor Jacob Zuma’s scandal-plagued tenure.

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