President Cyril Ramaphosa allegedly kept large sums of money in foreign currency, estimated to be $80 million (R1.24 billion), “concealed” under mattress and couches at his farm in Bela-Bela, Limpopo.
It has been established that the money was allegedly stolen by five Namibians who conspired with his domestic worker in February 2020.
Ramaphosa has allegedly failed to report the matter to any police station. Instead, he allegedly paid the suspects, including his domestic workers, R150 000 each not to reveal the incident to anyone after they were traced and apprehended.
Ramaphosa allegedly solicited the services of his head of the Presidential Protection Unit, Major-General Wally Rhoode, to investigate the matter without reporting it at any police station.
Rhoode, in return, got a local farmer, who is a neighbour at Ramaphosa’s Phala Phala Farm in Bela-Bela, to assist him with the investigation to trace the thieves.
Ramaphosa’s spokesperson, Vincent Magwenya, confirmed that there had indeed been a robbery at the president’s farm.
The admission came after former State Security Agency and Correctional Services director-general Arthur Fraser opened a criminal case against Ramaphosa at Rosebank police station.
The case was registered on Wednesday with Fraser saying Ramaphosa and Rhoode must be investigated for money laundering, corruption, and kidnapping.
In his affidavit, submitted to the police and seen by the Sunday Independent, Fraser added, “it is no small matter to lay criminal charges against a sitting President, but I am guided by the dictates of the interest of justice and our Constitution”.
Fraser said in the affidavit that thieves broke into the president’s wildlife farm on February 9, 2020, and stole “undisclosed sums of United States Dollars, concealed in the furniture in the main farmhouse”.
“The incident was not officially reported to the police to investigate. However, President Ramaphosa instructed Major-General Rhoode to investigate the incident immediately, apprehend the suspects, and retrieve the stolen US$,“ Fraser wrote in his affidavit to the police.
“Although there was no certainty as to the precise amount stolen from the President’s residence, the quantum was speculated to be in the region of approximately US$4 million to US$8 million.”
Questions sent to newly appointed Ramaphosa spokesperson Vincent Magwenya on Friday remained unanswered at the time of publication, although we gave him a 1pm deadline today.
These are the questions sent:
1. In your press statement released yesterday, you confirm that the President admitted that there was indeed a robbery at his wildlife game farm in Bela-Bela. Can the President confirm or deny that the money stolen was concealed in the furniture at his residence and that it wasn’t in a safe or a vault?
2. Can the President confirm or deny that he paid all the five men, who were apprehended for the stealing at his farm, including his domestic worker who allegedly conspired with the robbers, R150 000 each in cash to buy their silence not to reveal to anyone about the robbery?
3. How much was stolen in total?
4. How much was recovered in total?
5. How much was in the President’s residence in total at the time of the robbery?
6. In your statement, you said the money stolen was “proceeds from the sale of game”. a) Did the President declare the live stock trade in his register of assets (can we see the declaration), b) Did he declare the foreign currency in hand before it was stolen (can we see the declaration), c) Can the President disclose which countries or persons he was trading with and d) Whether he had permits for such trade at the time?
7. Is the President aware that the law, in this country, doesn’t allow an auctioneer to accept cash on site?
8. Does the President have enough confidence in our police, if so, why didn’t he report this case to any police station instead of reporting it to the head of the Presidential Protection Unit?
9. Can the President confirm or deny that he had arranged with his Namibian counterpart for Major-General Wally Rhoode to go to Namibia to trace one of the suspects, interrogate him and seize some of the money stolen from his farm and bring it back to South Africa?
10. Is there anything the President would like to tell fellow South Africans about this robbery at his farm?
I would be happy to receive your response before 13:00 tomorrow, June 4, 2022.
Instead, at about 2:42 pm Magewnya sent the reporter a WhatsApp message saying: “… my apologies. Because of the volume of detailed questions we have received, most of which we cannot answer due to pending investigation, we are going to release a statement later to address the issue.”