Ramaphosa hits back: ‘If I step aside, it would imply I interfered with the police investigation’
Politicians, civil organisations and members of the public have called for the president to step aside after he allegedly concealed a robbery at his Limpopo farm
“If I step aside, it would mean I interfered with the police investigation process, which I do not.”
These are the words of President Cyril Ramaphosa after calls for him to step aside amid “farmgate” investigations.
Politicians, civil organisations and members of the public have called for Ramaphosa to step aside after allegations of a cover-up of a robbery at his Limpopo farm two years ago.
Former State Security Agency (SSA) boss Arthur Fraser recently laid a criminal complaint against Ramaphosa, implying the president concealed the crime from authorities.
Ramaphosa has denied involvement in criminal activity.
Addressing the media after his budget vote debate last week, Ramaphosa said stepping aside would spark suspicion that he is interfering with the police investigation process.
“There could be a suspicion that I would interfere with the police and others. We have said we want police to investigate whatever crime, whoever it is against, without any fear or favour and on an impartial basis,” he said.
“If I were to say I am stepping aside on that account, it would basically mean I am confirming I interfere in the investigation process, which I don’t.”
Ramaphosa said his interference would be demeaning to law officials.
“It would mean they are not able to do their work on an independent basis, and it destroys their confidence, because they will always fear they may not be properly following things up because so-and-so is involved. We need to free our agencies and expect they will act as fairly as possible,” he said.
Speaking to TimesLIVE, ANC national chairperson Gwede Mantashe said Ramaphosa was not going to take a leave of absence over the allegations until all processes had been finalised.
He said Ramaphosa was being persecuted for being a victim of crime and not because he “stole from taxpayers”.
“I love the idea that says the president of the ANC is not accused of stealing. The allegation is that his money was stolen,” said Mantashe. “There will be processes that will culminate in a number of issues. Let’s say the SA Revenue Service, for example. We will wait for them to make a determination, but what are you taxed on when money is stolen?”
“The second one would be something like a determination by the Reserve Bank that you had foreign currency that was not declared, but what do you declare when it is stolen? All the issues will depend on the processes. My own view is that let’s give these processes space to determine what direction is taken.”
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