President Cyril Ramaphosa's ruling African National Congress party defeats the motion by 214 votes to 148, with two abstentions through open voting.

Opposition lawmakers kicked off the session by demanding secret balloting.
Opposition lawmakers kicked off the session by demanding secret balloting. (AFP)

South Africa's President Cyril Ramaphosa has easily survived a vote in parliament on whether to initiate impeachment proceedings that could have forced him out of office.

After a heated debate on Tuesday, his ruling African National Congress (ANC) party defeated the motion by 214 votes to 148, with two abstentions through open voting.

The impeachment "inquiry will therefore not be proceeded with", declared National Assembly speaker Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula.

Earlier, lawmakers were called to decide in an open vote, by simple majority, whether to launch an impeachment investigation against Ramaphosa - a lengthy probe that could lead to his removal from office.

But opposition lawmakers kicked off the session demanding secret balloting.

National Assembly speaker Mapisa-Nqakula shot down the demand, insisting that lawmakers would safely be able to exercise their right to vote with "their conscience" through open balloting.

Ramaphosa is counting on support from the ruling African National Congress (ANC) party, which has been further divided by the scandal.

'No one is above the law?'

Julius Malema, the fiery leader of the second largest opposition Economic Freedom Fighters party, expressed "deepest disappointment" in Ramaphosa, who was once a "celebrated architect" of South Africa's constitution.

Vuyolwethu Zungula, leader of the African Transformation Movement, a small opposition party with just two MPs but which tabled the motion for the parliament-sanctioned inquiry into the scandal, said the "watershed moment" would "affirm that no one is above the law or some people are above the law."

Last week, Ramaphosa secured the renewed backing of the ANC, which holds 230 of the National Assembly's 400 seats, after mounting a legal bid to have the damning report annulled.

Justice Minister Ronald Lamola trashed the report, saying, "there is not sufficient evidence to impeach the president."

READ MORE: Graft-accused Ramaphosa's political fate hangs in balance in South Africa


The president, who was a wealthy businessman before entering politics, found himself in hot water in June when a controversial ex-spy boss filed a complaint against him to the police.

Arthur Fraser alleged Ramaphosa had concealed the theft of several million dollars from his farm in 2020. 

He accused the president of having the burglars kidnapped and bribed into silence instead of reporting the matter to the authorities.

Ramaphosa has not been charged with any crime and has denied wrongdoing in the scandal, which has been dubbed "Farmgate" by the local media.

The findings of the three-person special probe, issued last week, brought forward details that have left South Africa agog.

Ramaphosa acknowledged the theft of $580,000 in cash that was stashed under sofa cushions at his farm - a safer place, his employees said - than the office safe.

He said the money was payment for buffaloes bought by a Sudanese businessman, who recently confirmed the transaction in interviews with British media.

READ MORE: Ramaphosa denies cover-up, details how he earned $580K from buffalo sale

Source: TRTWorld and agencies