S. Africa's Ramaphosa delays parliament appearance

STORY: Cyril Ramaphosa delayed an appearance in parliament to answer lawmakers' questions on Thursday (Novembler 30), a statement from parliament said.

The South Africa president wants more time to consider a panel report that found preliminary evidence he may have violated his oath of office.

The panel was appointed by the speaker of the parliament to look into whether Ramaphosa should face an impeachment process.

That's after it emerged in June that an estimated $4 million had been stolen from Ramaphosa's farm in 2020.

The incident raised questions about how the president, who took power on a promise of fighting corruption, acquired the cash and whether he declared it.

The panel said the president should face further scrutiny on his ability to stay in office.

Speaking at the Reuters Next conference on Thursday, South Africa's Minister for International Relations Naledi Pandor said it was a "troubling moment".

"And I hope we are going to bring all efforts to bear to assure the people of southern Africa and of the continent that we respect the constitution of South Africa as well as the rule of law."

The president, who has not been charged with any crimes, immediately denied any wrongdoing.

He said he categorically denied violating his oath "in any way", or that he was guilty of any of the allegations against him.

The chances of impeachment are slim.

Ramaphosa's ruling African National Congress holds nearly 60% of the seats in parliament and votes typically along party lines.

Impeaching a president requires a two-third majority in the national assembly.

The panel's findings come less than a month away from the ruling African National Congress's elective conference.

It will decide if Ramaphosa gets to run on the governing party's ticket at polls in 2024.