South African President Cyril Ramaphosa, mired in scandal for months, escaped impeachment proceedings on Tuesday, as Parliament largely voted against it after a stormy debate.
The assembly voted against impeachment with 214 votes against, with 148 votes for and two abstentions. Each of the deputies present made his or her choice clear, speaking in the eleven official languages of the country.
During the sustained debate, the speaker called for calm, sometimes using the Zulu “Thula! Thula” (shut up). If more than 50 per cent of MPs had considered the burglary case embarrassing to the president serious enough, a procedure would have been launched to examine the case in detail.
Mr. Ramaphosa, 70, who made his fortune in business before taking office, is accused of hiding a burglary at his Phala Phala property, where he raises rare cattle, from the police and tax authorities.
In February 2020, intruders left with 580,000 dollars found under the cushions of a sofa. The fruit of the sale of twenty buffaloes, according to the president. Dirty money, according to the complaint filed in June by a political opponent. Mr. Ramaphosa, who spent Tuesday between Pretoria and Johannesburg, has not been charged, as the police investigation is continuing.
The vote, which will determine the immediate future of the president, who remains very popular despite suspicions of tax evasion and money laundering, comes three days before a crucial meeting of the African National Congress (ANC). The party, which has been in power since the end of apartheid, is due to elect its next leader and potential future head of state at the end of the week, should it win the 2024 general election.
Cyril Ramaphosa is running for the presidency of the party, which has been choosing heads of state for the past 30 years, against his former Minister of Health. In the absence of a credible successor, the ANC caciques had given him official support to save him, calling on the party’s 230 MPs to vote as one to reject the impeachment procedure, despite the tug of war.