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Report handover to Parliament — Ramaphosa denies Constitution violations, Arthur Fraser’s allegations

Report handover to Parliament — Ramaphosa denies Constitution violations, Arthur Fraser’s allegations
Retired Chief Justice Sandile Ngcobo hands over the Phala Phala report to Speaker of the National Assembly, Ms Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula at Parliament. (Photo: Brenton Geach)

The Section 89 Independent Panel report on the burglary that took place at President Cyril Ramaphosa’s Phala Phala farm in February 2020 — has been handed to National Assembly Speaker Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula. In his submission which is included in the final report, Ramaphosa questions the charges brought against him and pokes holes at the evidence brought forward by opposition parties like the African Transformation Movement. 

President Cyril Ramaphosa’s submission to the Section 89 Independent Panel looking into Phala Phala sets out the series of events which unfolded at the farm. In his submission to the panel led by retired Chief Justice Sandile Ngcobo, which Daily Maverick has seen, he challenges whether the charges he faces are indeed applicable to what had transpired at Phala Phala. 

“I respectfully submit that all of the ‘charges’ I have been called to answer are without any merit. In addition to the ‘charges’, several baseless allegations are made against me in the documents handed over to the panel as set out in the bundle provided to me. Those which do not relate to the ‘charges’ or which on the face of it I deem not to have a bearing on the charges…

“The complaints of the African Transformation Movement (ATM), the United Democratic Movement (UDM) and the EFF are based on hearsay allegations. With respect, no evidence, let alone sufficient evidence, has been presented to prove that I committed any violation, let alone a serious violation of the Constitution or law, or serious misconduct as set out in the Constitution,” the submission reads.

Phala Phala Section 89 Panel Report

The Section 89 Panel Report. (Photo Brenton Geach)

Ramaphosa makes reference to charge 3 — that he had violated section 96(2)(b) of the Constitution read with section 83(b) of the Constitution. This relates to allegations that he had instructed a member of the Head of the Presidential Protection ‘Unit’, General Wally Rhoode to deal with security issues on my private farm. 

Ramaphosa explained that he did not use state resources to guard his farm, however, even if he did, it was within his rights as the president of the country. 

“The Presidential Handbook provides that the ‘South African Police Service (SAPS) takes full responsibility for the protection and security of the President and Deputy President at all times during their term of office. This includes static protection at all official and private residences’.

“The relevant prescripts govern the mandate of the Presidential Protection Services (PPS) and this includes security of private residences of a person in my position. There can be no violation of the Constitution in the PPS fulfilling its assigned mandate. In any event, it is important to state that the PPS was not providing such security at the farm at the time of the housebreaking and theft,” according to Ramaphosa.

Ramaphosa’s day of truth beckons as independent panel prepares to hand over report

The submission states that the President opted not to have presidential protection stationed at his home since his tenure as deputy president, he saw this as a cost-cutting measure which he later regretted.

“Where my personal security is concerned, my inclination has always been towards limiting any excessive state expenditure. I realised, after the housebreaking and theft at my private residence at Phala Phala, that I may have been overly conservative in this regard. The risk to my and my family’s safety, from anyone gaining unlawful access to my private space was made plain to me,” the submission reads. 

Charge 4 makes reference to Ramaphosa allegedly giving the suspended head of the police’s Presidential Protection Unit, Major-General Wally Rhoode an unlawful instruction to investigate the burglary on his private farm which shows dishonesty and constitutes misconduct and unlawfulness.

Ramaphosa states that he did not hunt down any perpetrators of the theft, as alleged nor did he give any instructions for this to take place.

“My instruction to the person responsible for me and my family’s security was to look into a housebreaking and determine the risk to our safety and security. This can hardly constitute ‘misconduct and unlawfulness’ as alleged. As such, my instruction to General Rhoode falls squarely within his responsibilities and the mandate of the PPS. It is clear that, by reporting the security breach and the theft to Major-General Rhoode, who holds the rank of major-general in SAPS, and by specifically requesting that Major-General Rhoode should attend to the matter, I had no intention of concealing the crime from the SAPS, or at all.”

The President then questions the authenticity of the photos and videos of the alleged burglary which had made the rounds on social media and were submitted to the panel by the EFF and ATM. 

The Phala Phala forex theft — it’s not the President, it’s his business, says ANC

He claims that video submissions and the topographical image fence are not of Phala Phala Wildlife.

“Regarding the plethora of videos and photographs that are annexed to the EFF and ATM’s submissions, and which are meant to relate to the theft on the farm, I have no knowledge of who took these, when they were taken, and in many cases, who the people are in the photos. I did not instruct General Rhoode to recoup the lost money. I know nothing of any attempts to do so, by whom these might have been made or how they may have gone about it. I therefore have no knowledge of the arrests depicted,” he reiterated. 

The President admits that the contents of one video are accurate. He mentions that Rhoode can confirm which pictures are authentic from the batch of photos that form part of the evidence.

“I point out that Section 89 makes it plain that the ground for my removal can only be a serious violation of the Constitution or the law or serious misconduct. It is unclear in charges 3 and 4 whether the allegation is that I committed a serious violation of the Constitution, or the law, or serious misconduct. This renders these charges defective in my respectful view,” the submission reads.

Phala Phala dollars came from animal sales, not money laundering, Ramaphosa tells MPs

The president argued that Charge 1 is based on an error of law. This charge looks at Ramaphosa’s interests and the extent to which he can be involved in his other business interests. 

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“The ATM seems to labour under the impression that I am forbidden from having any financial or business interests, or even investing in such interests. No such blanket prohibition exists. Although it was not included in this charge, it bears mentioning that my membership of Ntaba Nyoni does not give rise to a conflict of interest between my official responsibilities and private interests. In any event, mere statements that such a conflict exists are made without any effort at indicating how I am allegedly conflicted.

“Ntaba Nyoni, which operates as Phala Phala Wildlife, is a separate legal entity. I am the sole member of the close corporation but I do not work for it and do not get any remuneration from Ntaba Nyoni. From the inception of Ntaba Nyoni in and around 2001 I have invested my and my family’s money to fund its operations largely at a loss. To suggest that I undertake paid work on or through the farm is mistaken. I plainly do not.

“While I have an interest in Ntaba Nyoni as a game and cattle farming operation, I do not conduct any paid work on or in relation to the farm as referred to in section 96(2)(a) of the Constitution,” the President’s submission reads. 

Charge two accuses the President of breaching the laws of the Preventing and Combating Corrupt Activities Act 12 of 2004 which places an obligation on persons in positions of authority who know or ought reasonably to have known or suspected that any other person has committed an offence (including the offence of theft involving an amount of R100,000 or more), to report such knowledge or suspicion.

Ramaphosa stated that he had no personal knowledge regarding the theft itself.

“Similarly, I have no knowledge or suspicion, and cannot reasonably be expected to have knowledge of the perpetrators. Therefore, I submit that there was no duty on me to report the theft in terms of section 34 of the Precca,” the submission reads.

Ramaphosa however refused to respond to sharing information that is prohibited by law, or that is unlawfully obtained. 

He is particularly referring to the information obtained from the Public Protector’s office, which was not shared or supplied with her authorisation, as well as former spy boss Arthur Fraser’s letter to the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation, dated 23 June 2022, which according to the President, “appears to be leaked”. 

The letter that Ramaphosa is making reference to was leaked to UDM leader Bantu Holomisa and written by Fraser where he alleged that one of the President’s closest advisers, Bejani Chauke, illegally flew millions of dollars into South Africa from the Middle East and other countries.

Phala Phala report handover to Paliament

Retired Chief Justice Sandile Ngcobo hands over the report to secretary of Parliament Xolile George and Speaker of the National Assembly, Ms Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula at Parliament. (Photo: Brenton Geach)

Section 89 Panel hands over final report

The panel was appointed after ATM Leader Vuyo Zungula launched a motion of no confidence in Ramaphosa because of his involvement in the Phala Phala forex scandal. 

The panel which comprises Ngcobo, retired high court judge Thokozile Masipa and advocate Mahlape Sello was given 30 days in which to determine whether there are grounds to form a committee which would determine Ramaphosa’s fate. 

Speaking during the official handover on Wednesday morning Ngcobo described the panel’s work to have been “complex”.

“Dragging the President before an impeachment process is a huge decision. It cannot be done on flimsy reasons. There has to be something tangible that you can hold on to before you take that decision,” Ngcobo said.

“The report is divided into three parts. Volume 1 is the report itself, volume two and three are the record of the proceedings which contains every single document we relied on to make the report,” Ngcobo said.

Ngcobo further explained that it was not within their jurisdiction to recommend the involvement of any law enforcement in the outcomes of the report as punted in the media.

“There is one matter I have to attend to because it stems from a perception. I do not usually respond to the media because it is not my job to do that. Someone went on TV and said if this panel does not call the Hawks, it would not have done its job, let me make this clear — this was not our job. Our job was to integrate the information that members of the assembly saw fit to present to us. We could not go beyond that,” he said.

The panel was supposed to make their submission earlier this month however they requested an extension, which they were granted, to complete the report. The extension meant that the matter would not be discussed in Parliament this year — paving the way for Ramaphosa to stand for a second term as ANC president. This was because the report is now set to be released at the end of November, with Parliament scheduled to go on recess the next day.


However, after dissatisfaction from other parties, the parliamentary programming committee decided to push back the recess date to allow the report to be discussed by MPs on 6 December.

All parties represented in Parliament were given the opportunity to make submissions to the panel while the President provided a written submission.

The Phala Phala matter came to the fore when former spy boss Arthur Fraser alleged earlier in 2022 that Ramaphosa was involved in illegal activities surrounding a burglary at his farm. He claimed Ramaphosa had breached the Prevention of Organised Crime Act, and that large sums of US dollars were removed from the Limpopo farm by burglars.

Instead of reporting the matter to the police, Ramaphosa has been accused of having secretly instructed 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 that the suspects were caught, kidnapped and interrogated, and he believed crimes of defeating the ends of justice, kidnapping and money laundering were 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. DM


Comments - Please in order to comment.

  • Sydney Kaye says:

    In other words a complete waste of time and distraction engineered by Fraser and RET, cheered on by the EFF destroyers and the once credible “General” Holimisa and supported, for reasons best known to himself, John Steenhuisen who has known all along there is no case.

  • Johan Buys says:

    Before this mess goes to Parliament, perhaps Parliament should do that thing about glass houses and throwing stones. I imagine that the banking FICA process is in a database somewhere. I live in hope. That data should, for any bank account of any company CC or trust, include the personal details, through the eventual convoluted chain, of beneficial ownership. So if an MP (or as a politically exposed person which an MP is also any member of his family most certianly is) is the beneficiary of a trust that owns a company : the fact exists. Let’s clear the air about undisclosed interests before we debate about squirrel’s disclosed interests…..

  • Tony Siddle says:

    The allegations and investigations should focus on the SARB violations, and the likely undeclared income to SARS
    The mere fact that $580000 was
    hidden in the furniture, suggests an attempt to conceal these proceeds from SARB and SARS

Please peer review 3 community comments before your comment can be posted


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