(Bloomberg) -- South African President Cyril Ramaphosa is “seriously considering” asking a court to review the findings by an independent panel that he may have violated the constitution, his spokesman said.
“It may be in the long-term interest and sustainability of our constitutional democracy, well beyond the Ramaphosa presidency, that such a clearly flawed report is challenged, especially when it’s being used to remove a sitting head of state,” Vincent Magwenya said by text message on Saturday.
Approaching the courts would represent a volte-face by Ramaphosa. Two days ago, he was considering resigning after the panel led by a former chief justice found the president may have a case of impeachment to answer following a theft of at least $580,000 that was stashed in a sofa at a game farm he owns.
The scandal rattled South African financial markets. The rand posted its biggest weekly decline against the dollar in three months, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
The governing African National Congress will begin meeting on Sunday to discuss its response to the panel’s report. Lawmakers are scheduled to vote on whether or not to adopt it at a sitting on Dec. 6.
The gathering of ANC officials had been scheduled to start on Friday, before being abruptly adjourned after former President Thabo Mbeki, a critic of Ramaphosa’s leadership, raised objections about the president’s absence from the gathering. Mbeki, who’s also a member of the party’s National Executive Committee, said the party had a right to speak to the president.
ANC Chairman Gwede Mantashe, an ally of Ramaphosa, said the president wouldn’t be attending the meetings because he is the subject of the discussions. Mantashe also said that the panel’s report has to be assessed by the National Working Committee -- which oversees the running of the party on a day-to-day basis -- before it’s considered by the NEC.
After the adjournment, the NWC and the NEC meetings were rescheduled to Saturday and Sunday respectively, but both meetings were postponed by a day, the ANC said in a statement on Saturday, without providing reasons.
ANC spokesman Pule Mabe didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment sent by text message.
--With assistance from Mike Cohen.
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