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South African president under pressure to quit amid cash burglary scandal

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa delivers his State of the Nation Address at parliament in Cape Town, South Africa, June 20, 2019. (Photo by Reuters)

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa is reportedly in talks with the country's ruling African National Congress (ANC) party as pressure mounts for him to quit or be forced from office over a cash burglary scandal at his farm that he allegedly covered up.

On Wednesday, a panel tasked with probing the scandal submitted a report to the country's parliament in which it concluded that Ramaphosa "may have committed" serious violations and misconduct.

Ramaphosa "is looking at a number of options and... consulting with a number of role players" in the African National Congress (ANC), presidential spokesman Vincent Magwenya was quoted as saying by local media.

"We are in an unprecedented, an extraordinary moment as a constitutional democracy as a result of the report."

With calls for resignation from the opposition and from his own party mounting, the 70-year-old leader finds himself under tremendous pressure to cover up the theft, as according to the country's anti-corruption laws he stands accused of committing serious violations.

The report established that "the president may have committed... serious violations" of parts of the constitution and anti-corruption laws.

The ANC was to hold an emergency meeting on Thursday evening, but it later postponed to Friday morning.

"The president appreciates the urgency of this issue... the enormity of this issue, what it means for the country, the stability of the government and as a result of that he is still processing the report," said Magwenya.

The president also canceled a scheduled question-and-answer session in the parliament Thursday afternoon, his office said.

In June, South Africa's former spy boss filed a complaint with the police alleging the president hid a burglary at his farm at Phala in northeastern South Africa.

Ever since the complaint, Ramaphosa, who had vowed to end corruption and fix the economy after taking office in 2018, has been under surveillance as he allegedly orchestrated the planned robbery, despite him deying any wrongdoings, 

Ramaphosa rose to become South Africa's wealthiest businessman and later also the most powerful politician in the country. He was ANC’s leading negotiator during talks that led to a peaceful end to apartheid in 1994, which enabled Nelson Mandela to become South Africa’s first black president.

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