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Ramaphosa Heckled in Parliament Over Probe

FILE - South African President Cyril Ramaphosa delivers the Presidency Budget Vote speech, in the South African Parliament in Cape Town, on June 09, 2022.

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa was challenged in parliament on Thursday during his budget address by agitated opposition members who accused him of coverups and money laundering.

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa was interrupted by angry opposition members who heckled him over an alleged robbery probe during his budget vote address in parliament on Thursday.

“We can’t be addressed by a money launderer and a criminal... The president is accused of serious crimes, we can't be addressed by a person like this," shouted Natasha Ntlangwini, an Economic Freedom Fighters party member. She was later escorted out by security guards.

Ramaphosa was accused last week by former spy chief Arthur Fraser of paying thieves to stay quiet about a $4 million cash robbery at his farmhouse in February 2020. Ramaphosa denied the allegations but admitted that cash was stolen. He said the money came from wild game sales.

Another opposition party, the Democratic Alliance (DA), has called on Ramaphosa to answer questions about "potential money laundering related to his farm's alleged $4 million theft."

John Steenhuisen, leader of the DA, said on Twitter that Ramaphosa is facing a credibility issue and "cannot hide behind procedural smokescreens."

In response, Ramaphosa said on Thursday he was the victim of "dirty tricks" in the burglary scandal.

The allegations have dealt a blow to Ramaphosa's reputation as a leader who devoted in 2018 to eradicating corruption in South Africa.

Ramaphosa told legislators that the country faced numerous problems and that lawmakers must not "be sidetracked from the business at hand."

"The fight against corruption continues apace, and the net is closing in on those who for years grew fat off the money and resources meant for the benefit of the South African people," Ramaphosa said in tweet on Thursday.

A criminal investigation has been launched into the allegations against Ramaphosa, who has not been charged.