South African President grilled by Parliament about farm theft

JOHANNESBURG -- South African President Cyril Ramaphosa was challenged in Parliament Thursday by opposition lawmakers who demanded he resign from office pending a criminal probe into allegations that he hid a theft from his rural farm.

South African President grilled by Parliament about farm theft

JOHANNESBURG -- South African President Cyril Ramaphosa was challenged in Parliament Thursday by opposition lawmakers who demanded he resign from office pending a criminal probe into allegations that he hid a theft from his rural farm.

Members of the Economic Freedom Fighters Parliament were removed from the session because they repeatedly interrupted Ramaphosa's presentation of the annual budget for their office.

Arthur Fraser, former intelligence chief, filed a criminal complaint alleging that he stole a large sum of cash in U.S. Dollars from his ranch in northern Limpopo.

Ramaphosa later confirmed that the burglary was true and claimed the money came from the sale of game animals on his farm. Ramaphosa claimed that he reported the incident to his personal protection unit, but not the police.

This scandal has a significant impact on Ramaphosa’s reputation as a leader who is committed to fighting corruption in South Africa. In 2018, after widespread corruption allegations forced former President Jacob Zuma to resign, Ramaphosa's strong anti-corruption stance propelled him to the top. Ramaphosa, who was elected president of the country for a five-year term in 2019, vowed to eradicate corruption.

Ramaphosa, leader of the African National Congress, seeks to re-elect himself at its December national conference.

Ramaphosa was asked a few questions, including: How much money in U.S. Dollars was taken from his farm? From where did the money come? Did the foreign currency have to be declared to the South African Revenue Service

The second-largest opposition party in Parliament is the populist Economic Freedom Fighters. It said that it had briefed its lawyers to initiate legal proceedings to force Ramaphosa's resignation pending the criminal investigation.

The United Democratic Movement, another opposition party, has requested that Parliament launch its own investigation into the matter, and for Ramaphosa's appearance before it.

South Africa's president can be removed by a vote de no confidence from Parliament.

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