Imagine this scenario. A group of thieves enter a house to carry out a robbery. The house belongs to the president. The scammers were expecting to find valuable goods, but their expectations were exceeded. Hidden inside the couch are millions of dollars. If, with this discovery, the criminals do indeed have dollar signs in their eyes, the ‘reward’ still awaits them as the politician bribes them to buy their silence.
This story of clever thieves and bumbling politicians seems drawn from the wry surrealist comedies of directors like the Coen brothers. However, it is very real.
Replace the icy backdrops of Fargo, a movie set in the US state of Minnesota, with the heat of South Africa as we confront the scandal involving President Cyril Ramaphosa.
The issue is being investigated by an independent parliamentary commission, which on December 6 will publish a report on the liability of the South African president and issue conclusions that could lead to a possible impeachment vote.
Backed by Nelson Mandela as his successor, Ramaphosa, a wealthy businessman and former icon in the liberation struggle, has pleaded not guilty. However, the accusations, leveled by a rival with links to former President Jacob Zuma (accused of several corruption offences), still point to a police cover-up.
As the ruling African National Congress prepares to choose a new leader next month, many South Africans fear for their country’s future.
Political analyst Thembisa Phakode told the BBC that “Most South Africans are worried about what will happen next, and there is no one willing to replace Ramaphosa.” “This is the beginning of the end for the ANC, but that’s okay. The ANC has already done its job. Liberate the country. It’s time for something new.”
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