A South African corruption watchdog said President Cyril Ramaphosa “deliberately misled” Parliament about a campaign contribution, a setback for a leader who has vowed to address sprawling graft allegations that forced his predecessor from office and sparked national outrage. The report was released as that former president, Jacob Zuma, abandoned his testimony to a high-profile state commission probing wide-ranging allegations of graft in government and state-owned companies. Zuma, who denies the allegations against him, asserted he was being treated unfairly. But a deal was quickly reached for him to return at some point in the future. The outcry over years of alleged corruption during Zuma’s stay in office has shaken both the economy of South Africa, the most developed in sub-Saharan Africa, and public support for the ruling African National Congress. The party has been in power since the end of the harsh system of racial segregation known as apartheid 25 years ago. Now the ANC faces an internal struggle between allies of Cyril Ramaphosa and Jacob Zuma, who led South Africa from 2009 to 2018 when he resigned under party pressure and was replaced by former deputy Ramaphosa. The current president has repeatedly vowed to fight corruption and win back public confidence. Friday’s report by South Africa’s public protector, a constitutionally created office that probes alleged misconduct in state affairs, said Ramaphosa “deliberately misled” lawmakers late last year about a 500,000-rand ($34,000) campaign contribution from the CEO of a local company, Africa Global Operations, formerly Bosasa. The report called
Former South African President Jacob Zuma ducked and dived on his second day of testimony at a corruption inquiry on Tuesday, saying he knew nothing about his business friends the Guptas allegedly offering a former lawmaker a ministerial position. The inquiry is spotlighting the allegations of graft that clouded Zuma’s nine-year presidency, but analysts say that if it fails to pin a case on him it could dent President Cyril Ramaphosa’s anti-corruption drive. Ramaphosa’s efforts to clean up politics are already hampered by the lingering influence that Zuma and his allies exert over the ruling African National Congress (ANC). Allegations that Zuma allowed the three Gupta brothers to plunder state resources and influence senior government appointments are one of the main areas of focus for the inquiry, which began in August and is expected to last into next year. The Guptas have denied the allegations against them, as has Zuma, who was ousted by the ANC in February 2018 and replaced by Ramaphosa. State prosecutors have said they are following the inquiry and they could open cases if sufficient evidence of wrongdoing emerges. Under pressure from his party, Zuma agreed to set up the inquiry just before he left office. Asked about an incident where one of the Indian-born Guptas allegedly offered former ANC lawmaker Vytjie Mentor the position of minister of public enterprises, Zuma said on Tuesday: “I know nothing about it”, repeating the same phrase several times and once letting out a chuckle. Mentor told the inquiry that
Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane has made another adverse finding against Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan, this time in relation to the establishment of the so-called “rogue unit” at the South African Revenue Service (SARS) in 2007. At the time, Gordhan was the commissioner of SARS. He was appointed as minister of finance in 2009. Mkhwebane released her report on the “rogue unit” on Friday during a press briefing at her offices in Pretoria. She told journalists she had divided her Gordhan probe into parts to deal with the various allegations: That Gordhan lied to Parliament by not disclosing his meeting with a member of the Gupta family;That SARS established an unlawful intelligence unit (the so-called “rogue unit”);That this unit allegedly obtained illegal equipment to conduct intelligence operations Findings On the first count, Mkhwebane said Gordhan had failed to remember anything that happened during the supposed meeting, and she thought this was implausible. On the SARS rogue unit issue, she found that former SARS commissioner Oupa Magashula had lied under oath during his interview with her by saying no such intelligence unit existed. The unit was established without involving the State Security Agency (SSA). Under former finance minister Trevor Manuel, SARS had already begun operating the unit and Gordhan should have been aware of this, she said. The commissioner of SARS is the accounting officer and was therefore accountable. On the alleged possession of intelligence equipment, evidence in her possession confirmed its existence. “If SARS’ operations were lawful, it is unclear
South African President Cyril Ramaphosa on Saturday urged the country to pursue “an extraordinary feat of human endeavor” as he was sworn in for a five-year term with a delicate fight against government corruption ahead of him. “The challenges our country face are huge and real. But they are not insurmountable. They can be solved. And I stand here today saying they are going to be solved,” Cyril Ramaphosa told some 30,000 people in the capital, Pretoria, with several African leaders in attendance. He promised a new era in which officials will improve the lives of South Africans instead of enriching themselves. He called for a state free from graft and “resources squandered,” and urged fellow citizens to end poverty in a generation. Both would be immense achievements: Corruption and mismanagement have consumed billions of rand, and South Africa is the world’s most economically unequal country . Ramaphosa’s inauguration followed his ruling African National Congress party’s 57.5% victory in this month’s election. It was the party’s weakest showing at the ballot box since the ANC took power at the end of the harsh system of racial apartheid in 1994, as voter turnout and confidence fell. Ramaphosa first took office last year after former president Jacob Zuma was pressured to resign amid corruption scandals that badly damaged public faith in the ANC. A former protege of South Africa’s first black president, Nelson Mandela, Ramaphosa is seen by many as having the potential to clean up both the government and the ruling
Many people are asking why the governing African National Congress (ANC) is happy after recording its worst performance since white minority rule ended in 1994 - 58% share of the vote.
This is the first time the party that has led South Africa since 1994 has won less than 60% of votes, but for an organisation that is hugely divided, riddled by corruption and has had a decade of lethargic leadership, this result is seen as a boost for its new leader Cyril Ramaphosa.
Many people see this as the ANC's last chance to redeem itself.
Mr Ramaphosa took over the party in December 2017, after the ANC sacked Jacob Zuma, embroiled in corruption allegations, which he denies.
One of its senior members, Fikile Mbalula, said the party's share of votes "would have probably dropped to 40%" had its leadership not changed.
But the ANC shouldn't celebrate too soon.
The people of South Africa may have given the ANC a mandate to lead, but it is not unconditional.
South African President Cyril Ramaphosa led the African National Congress (ANC) to victory in Wednesday’s election, but a drop in its share of the vote underlines the challenge he faces restoring confidence in his party.
With opponents in the ANC and an emboldened far-left opposition party, the former union leader turned business tycoon may struggle to deliver on his promises to push through tough reforms.
Africa’s oldest liberation movement won 57.5% of the parliamentary vote. That was its worst parliamentary result since it swept to power at the end of white minority rule but an improvement on its showing in 2016 local elections.
Ramaphosa worked closely with South Africa’s first black president Nelson Mandela to end white minority rule in 1994. He replaced scandal-plagued Jacob Zuma as head of state in February 2018 after winning a bitter contest to become ANC leader and convincing top party officials to instruct Zuma to resign.
Ramaphosa’s first full presidential term should start later this month, after nomination by his party’s parliamentary caucus and an inauguration ceremony.
“We’ve made mistakes, but we are sorry about those mistakes, and we are saying our people should reinvest their confidence in us,” Ramaphosa said on Wednesday after casting his ballot in the Soweto township where he grew up.
Even with a decisive election victory for South Africa’s ruling party this week, the country’s President Cyril Ramaphosa could still struggle to push through the tough reforms needed to galvanise Africa’s most developed economy, say analysts and some party insiders.
The former union leader turned business tycoon has promised to introduce major economic reforms and extend a crackdown on corruption if his African National Congress (ANC) party is returned to power in Wednesday’s national election. Ramaphosa’s allies say a result close to 60 percent in this week’s parliamentary vote, which some opinion polls suggest could be possible, would strengthen his hand to deliver on those pledges.
But some analysts and ANC party insiders are sceptical that Ramaphosa would make much progress with reforms, even with a clear election victory. They cite his tenuous grip over the party’s decision-making bodies, where former comrades in the struggle against the brutal apartheid regime are at each other’s throats in a high-stakes battle for power and wealth.
“Ramaphosa needs a united ANC to achieve his agenda, but he doesn’t have that,” said a veteran ANC politician who did not wish to be identified discussing internal rivalries. “His enemies are going nowhere.”
South Africa’s ruling African National Congress (ANC) will kick-start the economy and deal with corruption, it vowed on Sunday, three days before elections at which its overwhelming majority faces its sternest test since the party rose to power.
Less than 30 km (18.6 miles) away, the country’s second-biggest opposition party, the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), challenged the ANC’s governance record and promised a tougher stance on corruption and economic policies to target racial inequality.
Though the ANC has won each parliamentary election since the transition from apartheid in 1994, recent opinion polls predict that it will bleed support to opposition coalitions that have gained ground as the ANC has been dogged by political scandal and a flagging economy.
South Africa’s ruling African National Congress (ANC) appears headed for victory in next month’s election, as President Cyril Ramaphosa seeks to strike a reforming tone, with three opinion polls showing support ranging between 51 and 61 percent.
The three pollsters, which used different methodologies and turnout assumptions for the May 8 parliamentary vote, put support for the biggest opposition party, the Democratic Alliance (DA), at between 19 and 24 percent.
Facing huge pent-up demand for better living standards for the country’s black majority, the ANC is seen by some critics as having failed to live up to the heady promises of Nelson Mandela’s era. The party’s image was severely tarnished under Ramaphosa’s predecessor, Jacob Zuma.