Former South African President Jacob Zuma, forced to resign in 2018 over scandals and corruption allegations, accused his successor, Cyril Ramaphosa, of being “corrupt” on Saturday.
“The president is corrupt” and “has committed treason,” he said in his first reaction to allegations that Ramaphosa was involved in a shadowy robbery case.
“No president should deal with private matters while in office” because it is contrary to the oath taken by the head of state, he continued at a news conference in Johannesburg.
In September, the South African Parliament created an independent commission to investigate a robbery case that has been worrying President Ramaphosa for several months, accused of money laundering and corruption.
The results of the investigation could lead to a possible vote in parliament for his impeachment.
Mr. Ramaphosa is accused of concealing from the police and tax authorities a 2020 break-in at one of his properties, during which large sums of cash were found hidden in furniture.
An investigation was launched after former South African intelligence chief Arthur Fraser filed a complaint in June. According to Fraser, the thieves broke into a farm owned by the president in Phala Phala, in the northeast of the country, and stole four million dollars (4.08 million euros) in cash.
The complaint accuses Mr. Ramaphosa of concealing the theft from the police and the money found there from the tax authorities, as well as organizing the kidnapping and interrogation of the thieves and then bribing them to keep quiet.
Mr. Ramaphosa denounced this as a political maneuver, denied the accusations of kidnapping and bribery, questioned the amount of the theft, and claimed that the money came from the sale of cattle.
The case has put the president in crisis before the next decision of the ANC on whether to present him as a candidate for a second term in the 2024 presidential elections.
Zuma said the ANC conference in December “will have to deal with this case” and decide whether the president can stay or not. “Many say the president has failed,” he continued.
Another former head of state, Thabo Mbeki, also lamented the ANC situation ahead of the December conference.
“Our president is under great pressure … over the Phala Phala farm case,” he said at a separate meeting in Johannesburg.
Former President Zuma, who was sentenced to 15 months in prison for stubbornly refusing to answer a commission investigating corruption, finished serving his sentence earlier this month.
Two months after his sentence, Zuma was released on health grounds and placed under judicial supervision.
On Saturday, he called his imprisonment “illegal” and criticized the judiciary.
“The fact is that the highest court in this country has broken the law,” he said, saying “we need to make sure that judges don’t become politicians.
Zuma, who is still facing trial in a bribery case dating back more than 20 years, announced in late September that he was considering a return to politics.