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South African President risks jail term ahead of next polls

South African President, Cyrill Ramaphosa, risks jail sentence ahead of next year’s elections, it has been revealed.

The leader of Africa’s economic powerhouse has been embroiled in a $4m (£3.3m) theft from his farm back in 2020, including kidnapping and bribing the burglars into silence. These revelations of the scandal, named ‘Farmgate scandal’, came up in June, when a former South African spy boss, Arthur Fraser, filed a complaint with police, accusing the president of hiding a stolen money in tune of $4m from his Phala Phala farm in the north-east of the country, in 2020.

In his defence, the president said that the money in question, $4m, has been exaggerated, and the the actual figure was much lesser than that. Still in the defence, the South African President further said that there were no cover-ups – clarifying that the money was used for buying buffalos. “I did not ‘hunt’ for the perpetrators of the theft, as alleged, nor did I give any instructions for this to take place,” he wrote in a submission to the panel’s report, according to AFP news agency. The panel concluded that there were many unanswered questions, calling it a “very serious matter”.

But Mr Fraser, a close ally of former President Jacob Zuma, was adamant that the money could have been the proceeds of money-laundering and corruption – hence he accused the South African President of kidnapping and bribing the thieves to conceal any evidence that would’ve led to further revelations.

“We think that the president has a case to answer on the origin of the foreign currency that was stolen, as well as the underlying transaction for it,” the report said. It added: “The president abused his position as the head of state to have the matter investigated and seeking the assistance of the Namibian president to apprehend a suspect.” Namibian president has since distanced himself from the allegations.

This is going to dent the President’s reputation on his campaign trails, since the country is edging closer to next year’s general election. When he was seeking his first term to be the South African President, Ramaphosa led his campaigns on the anti corruption platform. People will be questioning the contrast between what they’re now seeing in their local dailies on the president, against what he promised them in the run-up to their last election.

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