South Africa-Ramaphosa-Robbery

S/Africa: Ramaphosa opens up on farm robbery

APA-Johannesburg (South Africa)

A heated debate of a National Executive Committee (NEC) of the ruling African National Congress has heard ANC President Cyril Ramaphosa's brief the committee members on the Phala Phala robbery for the first time, with the majority left unsatisfied about why it took him so long to open up to them on the scandal.

NEC members who attended Friday's meeting said the president voluntarily spoke about the matter during his opening speech. 

They said he told the meeting the money stolen at his Phala Phala farm was proceeds of a legitimate business transaction, and that he had declared every aspect of the business to the relevant authorities.

Senior party leaders, who asked not to be named, said Ramaphosa went as far as taking them into his confidence about his submission to the parliamentary panel probing whether or not he had a case to answer on the matter.

This was regarded by party leaders as a calculated move to “disarm” his opponents who came to the meeting to call for his removal by using the “step aside” rule.

“I think he disarmed a lot of people by stating his defence to parliament. The problem is that the more he delayed in giving a public explanation, the more damage it caused. I think he should’ve given this explanation to the public earlier,” an unnamed NEC member said.

This did not stop his rivals, however, from calling on him to step aside from his position as both ANC president and the republic.

Leading the calls for Ramaphosa's head was one of his senior ministers, Cooperative Governance Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, at the ANC NEC meeting held in Johannesburg.

Dlamini-Zuma is competing with Ramaphosa at the party’s national elective conference for the position of ANC leader in December.

The meeting continued on Saturday.

NM/jn/APA

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