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Is Ramaphosa’s Credibility at Stake?

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa is facing a criminal investigation after a revelation that he failed to report a theft from his farm in northern Limpopo province, surfaced last week. Allegations of kidnapping and corruption were levelled against the president by the country’s former spy chief, Arthur Fraser. In South Africa it is illegal not to report a crime and according to Fraser’s affidavit, Ramaphosa tried to conceal the theft, which happened in February 2020 when he was attending an African Union summit in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Several opposition parties have called for a full investigation into the theft, including whether the amount of foreign currency allegedly stolen had been declared to the South African Revenue Service. The president is facing a crisis of credibility and cannot hide behind procedural smokescreens” the opposition party’s leader John Steenhuisen said in a statement. The United Democratic Movement, has called on Ramaphosa to take a “leave of absence” while Parliament probes the incident, saying it is not prudent for it to do so while he was in office. Speaking about the incident for the first time over the weekend, the President said the cash was “from buying and selling animals” on his farm. Some of Ramaphosa’s supporters denounce the timing of the revelation as part of efforts to derail his reelection bid as party president in December.