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South African president uses ‘dirty tricks’ in burglary scandal

#South #African #president #dirty #tricks #burglary #scandal

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa said Thursday he was the victim of “dirty tricks” in a damaging burglary scandal after a rowdy opposition in parliament berated him.

Last week, Ramaphosa was accused of bribing burglars to keep quiet about a February 2020 robbery at his farmhouse in which they stole around $4 million worth of cash.

“In recent days we have seen those who lose most in the fight against corruption resort to dirty tricks and intimidation to get us to back down,” he said in a budget speech.

“But we will not waver. We will not blink. We will finish what has been started,” Ramaphosa said in a speech interrupted by heckling.

Ramaphosa is a former trade unionist who became a highly successful businessman in post-apartheid South Africa before entering politics.

He took office in 2018 and vowed to clean up the corruption that characterized the presidency of his predecessor, Jacob Zuma.

South Africa’s former spy chief Arthur Fraser told police last week that robbers allegedly broke into Ramaphosa’s phala phala farm in the northeast of the country, where they found $4 million in cash hidden in furniture.

Ramaphosa hid the robbery from police and tax authorities, Fraser said.

Instead, Fraser says, Ramaphosa organized the kidnapping and questioning of the burglars, then bribed them to keep silent.

Ramaphosa has admitted to the burglary but disputes the amount of money, saying the money came from legitimate sales of game on his farm.

He denies the alleged kidnapping and bribery and says he reported the burglary to police after learning about it.

Ramaphosa will face party members at a conference in December where he could be ousted from his top post by the ruling African National Congress (ANC).

South Africa’s top anti-corruption official has opened a case in the affair.

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#South #African #president #dirty #tricks #burglary #scandal

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