Opposition parties are unrelenting in their call for President Ramaphosa to account for the robbery. - Photo by GCIS

By Staff Reporters

The expression “a week is a long time in politics,” hit home for President Cyril Ramaphosa last week. In just seven days, he shed a campaign persona of being the anti-corruption poster boy to being called a criminal in Parliament.
On Wednesday, 1 June, former State Security Agency Head Arthur Fraser laid a criminal complaint against Ramaphosa at the Rosebank Police Station. He alleged that the president orchestrated a concealment of a burglary at his Phala Phala game farm in Limpopo, in February 2020.
In an explosive exposé, Fraser claimed four Namibian nationals working in cohorts with the president’s domestic worker made off with an estimated $4 million (about R61m) that was bizarrely hidden in the furniture of the farm’s main residence.
A week later, on Wednesday, 8 June, when he delivered the Presidency budget vote speech in Parliament, the event exploded. It descended into chaos as EFF MPs disrupted proceedings. They called Ramaphosa a “criminal” to his face. The EFF said he should not be allowed to address them.
In his affidavit, Fraser alleged that Ramaphosa was involved in several serious crimes, including money laundering, kidnapping and defeating the ends of justice. He said his claims were supported by several documented evidence.
He also alleged that subsequent actions by Ramaphosa’s presidential head of security, Wally Rhoode, whom he claimed to have tracked down the suspects to recover the loot in Namibia, amounted to a criminal conspiracy to conceal Ramaphosa’s role in several crimes. These crimes implicated Namibian President Hage Geingob. The Namibian head of state has since denied to have “inappropriately” assisted Ramaphosa.
But South African parliamentarians wouldn’t hear of it. EFF MPs said they would not listen to a “criminal, money launderer and kidnapper” and a “murderer” of Marikana workers and raised repeated points of order to prevent proceedings from continuing.
“The President of the Republic, there are serious allegations against him, so he can’t come to the house to address us,” protested EFF legislator Omphile Maotwe, interrupting Ramaphosa’s attempts to speak.
“He must step aside and allow the law to take its course.”

Maotwe was echoing the words of EFF leader Julius Malema who, when addressing a press conference, a few days earlier said: “The EFF calls upon Ramaphosa to step aside with immediate effect because no policeman will investigate a sitting president who has violated laws in order to avoid justice. Ramaphosa has established himself as an individual who will go to great lengths to avoid accountability and his continued stay as a president while this matter is being investigated will jeopardise this case.
“The EFF has also assembled a legal team which will be led by Advocate Thembeka Ngcukaitobi to look into a constitutional provision to have Ramaphosa step aside.
“The integrity of our nation is at stake. The EFF will do everything in its power to make sure that Ramaphosa pays for the crimes he has committed in this country. Ramaphosa has portrayed himself as an anti-corruption crusader who has the divine right and entitlement to arrest anyone who is opposed to him as an individual and to the white capitalist establishment. Enough is enough.”
For more than an hour, Ramaphosa was heckled and harangued by several EFF MPs, including Malema and his deputy Floyd Shivambu, over the scandal which has engulfed him since last week.
The leader of the official opposition, John Steenhuisen of the DA, compared Ramaphosa to “a two-bit mob boss,” while also likening his Farmgate scandal to his predecessor Jacob Zuma’s Nkandla debacle.
“South Africans don’t want this, and they don’t deserve this. They don’t want a two-bit mob boss with houses stuffed full of dirty cash for a president.
“They want someone who leads by example — someone who puts his or her personal ambitions a distant second to the needs of the country,” he said.
Ramaphosa has protested his innocence. The first effort came in the form of a statement by presidential spokesperson Vincent Magwenya who said the president was “clear that there is no basis for the claims of criminal conduct against him”.
The statement further stated: “The Presidency can confirm that a robbery took place at the president’s farm in Limpopo on or around 9 February 2020 in which proceeds from the sale of game were stolen.”
Throughout the week until his address in Parliament, Ramaphosa maintained this stance.
Political Analyst and academic, Professor Sipho Seepe was scathing on Ramaphosa’s response.
He said his first sin was that he was “caught red-handed” and “incomprehensibly responded to questions that were never asked”.
“He boastfully told his ANC comrades (when he addressed the ANC Polokwane Provincial Conference): ‘I have never stolen money from anyone.
My integrity as a leader will never allow me to do so. All this was money from proceeds from selling animals.
“Unbeknown to him, Ramaphosa was idiotically admitting that he was in violation of his Oath of Office. Section 96(2) of the Constitution prohibits the president and members of Cabinet to (a) undertake any other paid work and (b) act in any way that is inconsistent with their office, or expose themselves to any situation involving the risk of a conflict between their official responsibilities and private interests,” Seepe said.
He said by “engaging in the business of farming, the Ramaphosa was in violation of the Constitution.”
“The very act of engaging in the selling of animals introduces a conflict of interest with his official duties. He may also be found to have lied to Parliament, for having stated in the past that he had divested all his business upon assuming the office of president and deputy president of the country,” charged Seepe.
He also pointed out that the President has not responded to the allegations relating to the kidnapping, torture and paying off suspects.
He said Ramaphosa broke several laws saying, “as others have opined, if Ramaphosa is to be believed, he is probably guilty of violating the Currency and Exchanges Act 9 of 1933, which prohibits the selling of goods using foreign currency unless they have been given permission by the Treasury. But Ramaphosa’s version does not seem to wash,” he said.
Seepe said Ramaphosa’s game farm is part of the Game Breeders Group, which doesn’t allow cash payment because the amount allowable to foreigners and tourists is limited.
“The customs law requires that a person is allowed to take up to R25,000 in cash into the country “without having to declare this upon arrival at any customs points when arriving by air, land or sea,” said the academic.
Legal expert and commentator Paul Ngobeni also rubbished Ramaphosa’s explanation. He said there were a number of questions that explanations leave unanswered.
“For example, why would the president, who was away, choose to deny those affected by the crime at his property access to justice?
“Even stranger, why pay off the suspects after their arrest and return of the stolen money?”
Ngobeni said the president’s admission, “that there was “a robbery” which presumably had victims who had independent constitutional rights that could not be compromised in the manner he did.
Accordingly, the police have a non-delegable duty, once they witness or are informed of a crime, to act in the interest of protecting the rights of victims, regardless of whether the victim formally files a complaint or not,” he said.
He said by instructing Rhoode to “investigate” the crime, Ramaphosa caused him to violate the Prevention and Combating of Corrupt Activities Act, Act 12 of 2004 (Precca), which makes it mandatory to report certain actual or suspected crimes.
Speaking to 702’s John Perlman, political analyst at Xubera Institute for Research and Development Xolani Dube said: “I think what we have to really assert is the ANC is a den of thieves… in a den of thieves, the issue of the truth is an elusive one.”
The deputy president of the EFF, Floyd Shivambu, told iol.co.za: “Cyril Ramaphosa is a money launderer and a kidnapper who has no respect for the rule of law. He is no longer a president until he subjects himself to the rule of law.”
Meanwhile, following Malema’s scalding remarks on what he branded, the “silent voice of churches and NGOs”, Stephanie Fick, Outa’s Head of Legal Affairs, told sabcnews.com she was not convinced the allegations made by Arthur Fraser will stick.
“If you just consider the facts of the matter, what civil society is doing is waiting for proper facts to come to the fore. I mean to accuse the sitting president of money laundering because he apparently, has money stashed in furniture, there is (sic) photos of somethings, the weirdest thing about this is that there is so much hearsay. It really smacks in the face of his concrete evidence.”
In the mean time
On 15 June, Wednesday, Fraser met with the Hawks, to furnish them with more information into the alleged theft of $4 million (about R61 million) in cash at President Ramaphosa’s Phala Phala game farm.
A terse statement issued after the meeting read: “Today, being the 15th of June 2022, Mr Arthur Fraser met with the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation (the Hawks) in order to assist them with their investigation into his complaint against His Excellency, President Matamela Cyril Ramaphosa.”
“Mr Fraser appreciates the professionalism and the speed with which the Hawks have responded to his complaint.”
ATM submits second
inquiry request
Despite being rebuffed by the National Assembly, Speaker Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula, the African Transformational Movement (ATM) has not abandoned its effort to compel President Cyril Ramaphosa to explain the February 2020 robbery saga to Parliament.
On 14 June, Tuesday, the party made another submission requesting Parliament to establish an inquiry.
“It is common cause that Arthur Fraser has submitted evidence at the Rosebank police station where the president is implicated in serious crimes, including bribery, money laundering, kidnapping, breaching of customs and excise laws, breaching of South African Revenue Service regulations, breaching the Prevention of Organised Crime Act, defeating the ends of justice, to mention but a few.
“ATM will only focus on the areas where transgressions are neither contested nor in dispute. Incidentally, these areas are the areas where Parliament has exclusive jurisdiction,” stated Vuyo Zungula, president of ATM in his party’s motion.

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