South African leader Cyril Ramaphosa has emerged as the African National Congress (ANC) leader. He defeated his rival and former health minister Zweli Mkhize by 2,476 votes to 1,897.
For Ramaphosa to qualify for a second term election he has to, first, be the party’s leader. He won the poll despite criticisms against his government and a recent failed impeachment attempt. Critics alleged Ramaphosa is corrupt and involved in money laundering.
But the president denies the allegation, and so did Mkhize who also faces corruption accusations.
BBC is reporting that despite his victory over the scandal, Ramaphosa is being investigated by police, the tax office and central bank over allegations that he stashed at least $580,000 in a sofa at his private farm, and then covered up its theft.
A panel of legal experts, appointed by the speaker of parliament, said that impeachment proceedings should be instituted against him as he may have both violated the constitution and broken anti-corruption legislation.
Ramaphosa’s re-election bid was bolstered by the fact the ANC used its parliamentary majority to vote down the findings of the panel.
The president has denied anywrongdoing, and has launched legal action to annul the panel’s report.
He said the $580,000 came from the sale of buffaloes, but the panel said there was “substantial doubt” over whether a transaction took place.
Ramaphosa was the odds-on favourite to win, but Mkhize gained more votes than expected after offering key posts to other powerful leaders in deals struck just ahead of delegates casting their ballots at the conference.
Both sides denied accusations of vote-buying.
The ANC has been in power since white-minority rule ended in 1994, and is hoping to secure a sixth term in the 2024 parliamentary election. But opinion polls suggest that its vote has shrunk considerably because of widespread corruption in government, high unemployment and poor public services – including constant power cuts.