South Africa

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Ramaphosa pleads innocence, says charges laid against him are politically motivated

Ramaphosa pleads innocence, says charges laid against him are politically motivated
President Cyril Ramaphosa at the Limpopo ANC’s provincial conference at The Ranch Hotel in Polokwane on 5 June 2022. (Photo: Felix Dlangamandla / Daily Maverick)

Without revealing many details about the theft which took place at his Phala Phala farm in 2020, ANC President Cyril Ramaphosa addressed allegations levelled against him by former spy boss Arthur Fraser. He said because the incident was still under investigation, it was not possible to fully explain what transpired.

On Sunday afternoon, ANC president Cyril Ramaphosa surprisingly addressed accusations made against him by former State Security Agency and Correctional Services director-general Arthur Fraser. 

He was delivering his closing speech at the party’s Limpopo provincial conference which was held at The Ranch Hotel in Polokwane.

Ramaphosa said the allegations made against him were politically motivated and that some details on the matter were incorrectly reported by the media — including the exact amount of money found at his Phala Phala farmhouse in Limpopo.

President Cyril Ramaphosa (centre) arrives at the ANC’s Limpopo provincial conference at The Ranch Hotel in Polokwane on 05 June 2022. (Photo: Felix Dlangamandla / Daily Maverick)

“I would like to say that I am a farmer, I am in the cattle business and game business. Through that business which has been declared in Parliament and all over, I buy and I sell animals. Sometimes people buy these animals and some of the people who bought the animals — some of them are here. I do it sometimes through cash or transfers.

“Some of the people come to hunt on the farm, so this has been reported [as] a clear business transaction concerning animals. The amount involved is far less than the amount which has been reported in the press. Some said it’s R1-billion, some say it’s four million dollars. I want to say it is far less,” the President said.

Fraser dropped a bombshell on Wednesday, revealing that he had laid charges against Ramaphosa — who he has accused of breaching the Prevention of Organised Crime Act (POCA). The former spy boss claims that large undisclosed sums of US dollars were unlawfully removed by burglars from the President’s premises.

Instead of reporting the matter to the police, Ramaphosa has been accused of having unlawfully instructed the head of the Presidential Protection Unit, Major-General Wally Rhoode, to investigate the matter. Rhoode’s investigation led to the belief that the perpetrators were linked to a domestic worker at the farm.

Fraser alleged the suspects were caught, kidnapped and interrogated, and he believed crimes of defeating the ends of justice, kidnapping and money laundering had been committed. Ramaphosa is also alleged to have paid off suspects, including his domestic workers, R150,000 each to not reveal the incident to anyone after the offenders had been traced and apprehended.

In a statement issued by Fraser’s attorney Eric Mabuza, he claimed to have evidence to support the allegations.

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

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

Ramaphosa used the opportunity to plead his innocence in the matter yet again and assured the public that he had never stolen public funds.

He released a statement last week confirming that the incident had occurred and that security had been improved around his homes.

“Some are casting aspersions about me. I want to assure you that all this was money from proceeds of the animals. I have never stolen money from anywhere, be it from the taxpayers… My integrity as a leader will never allow me to do so. I want to continue fighting corruption. I want to make it clear that I will continue to fight corruption. Some of these things are clearly […] they have their own political agenda and we are all aware of that. 

“I remain fully focused on the tasks I have been given by the people of our country. I want to reaffirm that I was not involved in any criminal conduct and once again I pledge my full cooperation with any form of investigation. Due to the investigation, I will not be able to engage deeply or further on this matter as we should allow due processes to take place,” the President said.

The accusations come six months before the ANC is due to elect new leadership with Ramaphosa the front-runner in the contest to lead the party.

He has so far been endorsed in four provinces, the latest coming from newly elected Limpopo ANC chair Stan Mathabatha.

Fraser is now involved in another controversial matter after unlawfully signing off on former president Jacob Zuma’s medical parole last year. 

This is according to a finding of the Pretoria High Court that ruled that he had been wrong to grant medical parole to Zuma when the Medical Parole Advisory Board found that the former president did not meet the requirements.

Zuma had been sentenced to 15 months in prison for contempt of the Constitutional Court. DM

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  • Craig B says:

    Looks like private sector corruption? Very odd. Fraser must be pretty sure of himself to use this as political tool which he is doing. If he’s proved wrong, Fraser is toast.

    • Dennis Bailey says:

      Agree, but no consequences even for toast and what a waste of time and resources. There must be more.

      • Rg Bolleurs says:

        It’s normal business practice to bank the proceeds of your business, not hiding them in your furniture…so the real question is, what on earth was this cash doing in the furniture!?

    • brett marshall says:

      Problem is, Craig B, that Fraser has nothing to lose. He has already lost all of his official power and influence, so its back to the wall and all in for him!

  • Peter Doble says:

    It rather sounds as if the cattle baron may be hoisted on the petard of his own “ranchgate”. Whatever the facts, significant amounts of cash swilling around raises eyebrows. CR may well be the best of a truly despicable bunch but when it comes to getting rich quick schemes there’s nothing beyond an ANC politician.

    • Roy Haines says:

      Exactly, well said!

    • Carol Green says:

      Agreed. And how exactly did Ramaphosa become so wealthy?? Has he ever actually built a business himself??
      I have no doubt this is all about politics but CR still has a case to answer to the SA public.

    • Malcolm Mitchell says:

      From my vantage point as a middle class citizen, I understand that even if the sum was was R4 million, though the President says it was less, this is not lot of money to the upper class game dealers which was waiting to be banked on the first bank opening day following the Saturday sale.
      Looks like a lot of the comments are directed towards getting an a RET led government – even as a staunch supporter, voter and past election agent of the DA and its forebears under different names during many decades, I feel the current hierarchy are naïve in thinking any replacement for the Ramaphosa faction will not be the “Zuma-ites”

  • brett marshall says:

    So, another typical ANC tactic. “The matter is under investigation so i can’t give any details”. Why not? if there are details that are exculpatory, why not give them to the media? How can it harm his case and it may well discourage further investigation. Nope, just buying time Mr. Ramaphosa. Hypocrite!

    • Errol Price says:

      Agree fully with this comment.
      Ramaphosa has been fully complicit with ANC misdeeds for many years.
      Somehow , many people believed that he personally was free of any moral taint. Really !!
      He never ran a business or practiced a profession nor to any-ones’ knowledge was gainfully employed – yet emerged from the shadows , remarkably wealthy.
      how come this stupendous turn of events has never been questioned before ?

  • Johan Buys says:

    Dollars kept in the couch sounds reasonable. People, come on : who here has not found money in their couches before?

  • Willem Boshoff says:

    the facts in the public domain points at anything but CR’s cash and actions being legitimate. this may finally prove that the country is run by a thoroughly criminal organization that disregards the law whenever they feel like it. the only difference between the factions is a bunch of crooks vs a bunch of crooks willing to destroy the country in their greed. one silver ling may be that CR finally takes the sword to the RET faction – it will be an absolute horror show if CR is sunk and the RET remains intact.

  • Joe Soap says:

    The ANC does not look very unified to me.

  • Peter Brierley says:

    Is it not a practice, if not a requirement that politicians in an executive role step back from their commercial interests during their term?
    If so, it may well be the Ramaposa left the day to day running of affairs at his farm to the management and that they were the people who “sorted out the problem” on an un-official basis?
    Certainly embarrassing for the President, but more political than anything else I feel.
    Fraser has lead a charmed existence due to knowing where the skeletons are.

  • Trevor Thompson says:

    Many are call for Cyril to nresign his post.
    As rightly pointed out this is an excerse of political rivalry aimed at promoting certain setions of thye ANC for the simple purpose of being able to continue feeding at the trough. For us, the populace, we have no alternative but to watch from the sidelines again.
    Until we as the electorate have the ability to choose our own representatives, accountable to us, we will continue to have these situations.
    So Cyril, rather than falling on your sword (you are still the best of the bad bunch) why not call a snap election where voters can decide which party will serve the best interests of the country and its people.

  • Gled Shonta says:

    Fraser is not an unbiased operator. He has serious skin in the game. Zapiros cartoon of today says it all. Smells like a skunk, walks like a skunk, acts like a skunk. Its not Cyril who stinks here people. You are being played. Again. SMH.

  • Norman Brauteseth says:

    Perhaps the more important questions are being missed here. Cash transactions for valuable stock may be normal. If so, then farmers may not in fact bank their cash at all: they may keep it for a future transaction. If so, is that legal, is there an underground market, and are the profits declared? How much money was in the couch, how long had it been there, and can it be tracked to specific transactions? And, of course, was it all dollars, and if so, why? The answers may indicate why the incident was not publicly reported, and it may be more tax related than corruption.

  • Beyond Fedup says:

    I no longer am a fan of Ramaphosa. I was at the beginning, but it has been one big disappointment after another. Not now especially after our disgusting behaviour with regarding our highly pathetic, disgraceful and immoral stance on the war in Ukraine. That he and his obnoxious government cannot bring themselves to speak out, let alone, condemn the mass murder and destruction being perpetrated by his beloved but thoroughly evil Putin thug and his hideous cabal in government. Who attacked whom and who is wantonly killing thousands of innocent people and obliterating homes, schools, villages, towns etc??? With regard to this latest event, one only has to look at who is behind it and it’s timing. A thoroughly odious, deceitful, treasonous and corrupt scumbag, who only now wakes up in order to serve and advance the interests of the Radical Economic Thieves. Whether we like it or not, Ramaphosa is the thin line now separating SA from these evil thieving monsters, who want to restore this country back to the inept and kleptocratic Zuma years of grand theft, deceit, misappropriation and corruption – with no accountability and total impunity. Should this happen, and it is within the realms of possibility as anything goes in this country, then SA is doomed – you may as well switch off the lights.

  • Tim Spring says:

    Anything out of Arthur Fraser Brown’s mouth can be assumed to be a plot to the detriment of this country.

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