South Africa

SPIES R US

Cyril Ramaphosa confirms multimillion-rand heist at his Limpopo farm after Arthur Fraser laid charges against him

Cyril Ramaphosa confirms multimillion-rand heist at his Limpopo farm after Arthur Fraser laid charges against him
Former State Security Agency boss Arthur Fraser during his appearance in Parliament on April 19, 2018 in Cape Town, South Africa. (Photo: Gallo Images / Netwerk24 / Jaco Marais) | President Cyril Ramaphosa on May 15, 2022 in Durban, South Africa. (Photo: Gallo Images/Darren Stewart)

The spy boss’s charges reveal the start of an intelligence-driven campaign to unseat the President at the ANC’s December elective conference.

“The Presidency can confirm that a robbery took place at the President’s farm in Limpopo on or around February 2020 in which proceeds from the sale of game were stolen,” said the Presidency in a statement on Thursday, 2 June.

Ramaphosa trades in buffalo and ankole cattle and has been known to pay up to R36-million for a beast. What has not been known is that trade is in cash, which raises red flags for undeclared revenues and profits, as well as money laundering. 

Ramaphosa took hours to respond to former spy boss and Correctional Services Commissioner Arthur Fraser signalling panic in the Presidency. The Presidency did not reveal the figure or the currency but Fraser did.   

Arthur Fraser opens criminal case against Ramaphosa over alleged multimillion-dollar heist  

“The details of the charges and the supporting evidence, including photographs, bank accounts, video footage and names are contained in my statement,” said Fraser in a statement. 

Fraser laid criminal charges on 1 June at Rosebank Police Station against Ramaphosa for concealing a crime, revealing the theft, allegedly by the president’s domestic worker, working in cahoots with a gang.

“President Ramaphosa stands ready to cooperate with any law enforcement investigation of these matters,” said the Presidency spokesperson Vincent Magwenya in a statement which did not explain why he only revealed the robbery (a huge national security threat) two years and four months after Fraser had done so.

“The President was attending an African Union Summit in Addis Ababa at the time the incident occurred. President Ramaphosa reported the incident to the head of the Presidential Protection Unit of the SA Police Service for investigation,” said Magwenya.

“President Ramaphosa remains resolute in leading the fight against corruption, restoring the integrity and capability of public institutions and overcoming the legacy of state capture, and will not be deterred by disinformation campaigns,” he added.

Fraser said in a statement via his attorney Eric Mabuza that Ramaphosa had breached organised crime and anti-corruption legislation, but he did not explain how. 

The political manoeuvre is, however, clear. Any member of the ANC facing criminal charges (confirmed by a charge sheet and by the National Prosecuting Authority) must step aside.

The RET faction of the ANC has, at the same time, surfaced a campaign to get Ramaphosa to stand down and for Deputy President David Mabuza to take over until the end of the administration’s first term in February 2023.

The gambit is unlikely to work as it’s a robbery case in which the cops appear to have made zero progress in three months. But it can destabilise Ramaphosa’s office and his Cabinet when it is already struggling with a severe economic and energy crisis and a limping reform of the energy, transport and jobs markets. 

Fraser is a powerful political figure who assisted former president Jacob Zuma’s rise to the top. As Correctional Services Commissioner, appointed by Ramaphosa, he secured a medical release for Zuma from prison in September 2021. He overrode the advice of a medical parole appeals committee which found the former head of state did not qualify for parole.

Ramaphosa’s farm is his sanctuary and it reportedly features the buffalo as its motif. It is where his political nomenclature of The Buffalo has come from. 

This is a developing story. DM

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Comments - Please in order to comment.

  • brett marshall says:

    Thanks God for the Daily Maverick! So on the ball all the time, I am not sure whether i should be pleased or distressed about Ramaphosa’s travails. If he beats RET, the ANC could win the next election, which is not good. If he is beaten by RET, we are in for a rough ride until the next geneeral election, when the ANC will definitely lose.

  • Rory Macnamara says:

    Perhaps Fraser should look at the three fingers pointing at himself before attacking the President. clearly the police did nothing and that is where the blame lies. both Fraser and the RET fraction (intended mis-spelling) should dispense with half truths, mis-information and distraction and work for all the people of this country rather than their own self interest.

  • Johan Buys says:

    Fraser chose not to confront his accusers in front of Zondo and now sues them for perjury instead. That said, there is a LOT of explaining to do about $4m CASH transactions and whether it is even legal at all for payment on a domestic transaction or how the bearers of the $4m got away with possessing that much foreign currency under our laws. Maybe they swapped it for Kruger Rands with some of the Transnet gang that ran out of space for cash storage at that Knox safe storage place in JHB. My bank would raise their claxon very loudly if I asked for $40,000 in notes never mind walked in with $4m in notes to deposit. But then, perhaps people that deal in suitcases of dollars (Wiese, Ramaphosa, etc) Never deposit the cash. There is a story here.

  • Miles Japhet says:

    So Fraser is hanging himself out to dry!!
    Dirty tactics which in no way helps the poor. Nice one.

  • Paddy Ross says:

    How on earth does Arthur Fraser, Correctional Services Commissioner, get this information which can only have been collated by the SSA. The President is frustrated in what he is trying to achieve by those around him that have been exposed already by the Zondo Commission as unsuitable for any position that requires integrity.
    One hopes that he is elected unopposed at the ANC conference in November and then uses what will be a very short timeframe before the General Election in 2024 to rid the Cabinet and other essential governance positions of the totally inappropriate people who are currently in those positions. Let’s hope that history will record 2024 as the year that the ANC finally imploded.

  • Ian Callender-Easby says:

    Eish! Hopefully 2024 will bring an end to this nightmare…

  • Jairo Arrow says:

    Smallanyanas conveniently surfacing before the December Conference. One US$ under the pillow case is better than one thousand and 5 billion and 45 million Zuptas in the Bank of India.

  • Gerrit Marais says:

    Dog eats dog.

  • Carsten Rasch says:

    This is what happens when you pussyfoot around your enemies. There is no doubt Fraser is one of Ramaphosa’s major political enemies, but instead of dicing and grilling the corrupt civil servant, he chose to shift him sideways. Had he done the right thing at the time, Frasers action would have looked like vengeful sour grapes. Going for Fraser now, would look the same. Ai ai ai…not so sharp

  • Manfred Hasewinkel says:

    The whole thing was probably an RET/SSA sting. Simply the fact that Ramaphosa allowed himself to come into possession of $4M in cash, even just $100,000, shows extremely poor judgement. How do you explain that to the FIC? This is NOT the man SA deserves as president & our last hope. He certainly likes to keep his enemies close, e.g. the domestic worker, Mabuza, etc.

  • Riette Fern says:

    1. Mr. President – make us believe all is well. Prove that you declared the income to SARS.
    2. DM – there is some missing info here: Who was the buyer of the Oryx that paid the foreign currency in cash? Did ownership pass on the Oryx? Was the “stolen” money recovered from the robbers? What happened to the Domestic helper and the robbers? How do you deposit USD4m in notes with a bank in SA? Are there some exchange control regulation issues here?

    • Steven Burnett says:

      technically since returning to politics he is not supposed to be involved in his personal business transactions,

      Not sure if Trump inc is a good example of how bad things can go, but I think in the main Cyril has juggled the competing interests of being a rich individual and the most powerful man in the country quite well.

  • Frank Gainsford says:

    This is an interesting story, and will mopen other avenues of political problems within the ANC.

    so Thanx for an interesting story.

  • jcdville stormers says:

    The last defence of a scoundrel is patriotism.

  • Chris 123 says:

    Ramaphosa should have got rid of him long ago, he’s a weak president and the Zuma guys know it.

  • chris pearson says:

    Lets hope the “wounded buffalo” analogy plays out and finally pushes CR into action

  • Karel Vlok says:

    Any man (must be a male, female aren’t that dumb) who announces that there could be some serious cash on the farm, is even doffer that our honourable MP’s, and that takes some doing. The cash-in-transit brigade will be queuing at the gate.

  • Hilary Morris says:

    Anyone trusting anything said or done by Arthur Fraser can only belong to the RET faction or be very naive. However the story is not helped by confusing statements such as “…in a statement which did not explain why he only revealed the robbery (a huge national security risk) two years and four months after Fraser had done so.” Surely it was Fraser who inexplicably waited two year and four months while the Presidency responded to Fraser’s action immediatly – if not entirely convincingly.

  • Peter Dexter says:

    We all understand why Fraser has laid the charge now, but surely his concealment of the alleged crime for over two years makes him an accomplice?

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