Church Leaders in South Africa Welcome Report on Alleged President's Financial Crimes

President Cyril Ramaphosa. Credit:

Officials of the South African Council of Churches (SACC) have welcomed Section 89 independent panel report, which followed investigations into financial crimes allegations laid on the President of South Africa, Cyril Ramaphosa.

A former spy, Arthur Fraser, accused President Ramaphosa of abduction, bribery, money laundering, and concealing a crime in relation to the alleged theft of US$4 million from his Phala Phala game farm.

The Section 89 report indicates that President Ramaphosa may have committed impeachable offenses by violating his oath of office and the Prevention and Combating of Corrupt Activities Act.  

“The South African Council of Churches (SACC) welcomes the Section 89 independent panel report under former Chief Justice Sandile Ngcobo as a watershed moment for our constitutional democracy,” officials of the church entity that include representatives of the Southern African Catholic Bishops Conference (SACBC) say in a December 4 statement

The church leaders add that the panel report “is a significant starting point of the National Assembly to entrench its constitutional responsibility of oversight over the executive and holding it to account for; our constitution places no one or office beyond public accountability.”


Lawmakers are expected to look into the report and vote on whether or not to impeach the South African President. 

In their statement, the church leaders say they understand the widespread anger and disappointment expressed by the country’s citizens after the report was released.  

“The disappointment and anger over what confronts the nation now, seem to emanate in part from the incredulity of the circumstances that are engulfing a president who is perceived in this matter to have reversed the impact of State capture,” SACC officials say. 

They add that the Section 89 independent panel report is only the first step in a longer process that can lead to an impeachment of President Ramaphosa by a two-thirds majority of the National Assembly. 

“This is an important consideration because the Parliamentary system will involve due processes that include a Parliamentary Impeachment Committee, wherein proper evidence would be led,” they say. 

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SACC officials say the “wider powers of the Parliamentary Committee to investigate this matter more deliberately where the President can defend himself, will hopefully, bring in the evidence that may have been gathered by SARS (South African Revenue Service), and other relevant investigating institutions.”

The church leaders in South Africa advocate for “due process”, adding that it “is critically important to establish the constitutional matters of law.”

“The constitutionally provided due process allows for President Ramaphosa to account to constitutionally established structures. Any outcomes of that process will uphold the integrity of our constitutional system. Following our constitution demands of us to allow the process to unfold,” they say.

SACC officials also call on SARS and the parliamentary process “to be conducted satisfactorily without undue delay.”

They say the investigations “will undermine the moral and ethical authority of the President, and place in a state of limbo the country, its economy, the governmental processes, and many of its pressing and urgent challenges.”


In all of this, SACC officials say, the government “should not deviate from the imperative of strengthening the capacity of State institutions, and improving the quality of life for the people.”

“We are in the season of Advent, a season of reflection on our shortcomings as individuals and as a nation. But it is also a season of vigilance and judgment, of expectancy and hope as we are in the period of awaiting in hope, the memorialization of God in Christ becoming human and assuming our human frailty,” they say. 

They add, “Our vigilance and judgment require moral clarity and courage; and yet also the consideration of what brings hope in the midst of our frailty as individuals and as a nation.”

Magdalene Kahiu is a Kenyan journalist with passion in Church communication. She holds a Degree in Social Communications from the Catholic University of Eastern Africa (CUEA). Currently, she works as a journalist for ACI Africa.