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Ramaphosa gets second bloody Phala Phala nose in two weeks

Ramaphosa gets second bloody Phala Phala nose in two weeks
From left: Hazim Mustafa. (Photo: Supplied) | South African President Cyril Ramaphosa. (Photo: Gallo Images / Jeffrey Abrahams)

SARS tells the DA that it cannot find a declared record of $4-million game cash. Will the President stay if an impeachment committee is set up?

President Cyril Ramaphosa’s cash declaration scandal about a dodgy $4-million game purchase got messier on Monday. 

The DA said that SARS had responded that it could not find a record of Sudanese businessman Hazim Mustafa’s purchase of a variety of game from the President’s Phala Phala farm in the summer of 2020. 

Sudanese businessman Hazim Mustafa with his South African-born wife, Bianca O’Donoghue.
PHOTO: Bianca O’Donoghue/Facebook

Responding to a DA access to the information request made in December 2022, SARS deputy CIO Siyabonga Nkabinde said the revenue authority had no record of the dollar declaration. 

“On or around 17 January 2023, I commenced engagements with relevant various business units within SARS that I believed may be in the custody of and/or be in possession and/or have knowledge of the record requested and was advised that pursuant to the search for the record in various SARS Passenger Processing Systems the record could not be found and/or may not be in existence.”

The Phala Phala scandal has just become much messier for Ramaphosa, who last week took another bloody nose when the Constitutional Court denied him direct access to have the Section 89 parliamentary inquiry report invalidated. That report found he had a case to answer in what would amount to an impeachment hearing. (Section 89 is the removal of a President clause in the Constitution. This is a handy guide.)

Read in Daily Maverick:EFF and DA call for ad hoc committee to probe Phala Phala saga after Concourt rules against Ramaphosa

The court did not make a finding on the merits of Ramaphosa’s application, but the refusal of direct access means the head of state must now approach the high court. 

DA leader John Steenhuisen said he would enter these court proceedings to add the new SARS information on undeclared funds. Mustafa told eNCA’s Annika Larsen that he had declared the massive cash he was carrying to SARS on arrival in South Africa in 2020. He had intended to buy property but was directed to Phala Phala to accept buffalo and other game instead by someone he met while staying at the Lost City at Sun City.  

“The DA will once again table a motion with the Speaker of the National Assembly, Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula, to establish an ad hoc committee on the Phala Phala scandal to bring this matter to… the National Assembly.

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“… the Phala Phala scandal does not begin and end with the President, and as such, it necessitates an ad hoc committee that will have the full powers to summon and investigate Cabinet ministers, law enforcement bodies and other state institutions allegedly involved in this cover-up,” said Steenhuisen. 

Either the court case or the committee hearing risk tying Ramaphosa up in a long and dirty battle over the scandal that has tarnished him. 

Originally put into the public domain by former spy boss Arthur Fraser in June 2022, the game sale raises red flags that Ramaphosa did not declare the cash sales and that after the money was stolen by staff, his secret police Praetorian guard undertook an off-the-books investigation and may even have paid off the perpetrators to keep it hush-hush.  

When the Section 189 report landed in December 2022, Ramaphosa wanted to resign but was persuaded to fight another day by supporters. His chief supporter was Mineral Resources and Energy Minister Gwede Mantashe, who got the ANC at Parliament to vote to quash a parliamentary inquiry. Now Ramaphosa must wrestle control of Eskom and energy policy from Mantashe, putting him in choppy political waters. The President does not swim well in anything but calm seas. 

The confirmation that Hamza declared no cash or that the declaration could not be found raises the spectre of a long fight Ramaphosa may no longer have the stomach for. 

The President’s biographer Anthony Butler wrote in Business Day that EFF leader Julius Malema may be deputy president come 2024, with Paul Mashatile taking over from Ramaphosa. DM

This article was amended at 17.45pm to clarify SARS’s position.


Comments - Please in order to comment.

  • R S says:

    It’s time to remove them all from power. The ANC is rotten to its very core.

  • Ludovici DIVES says:

    Left un checked one can only imagine how corrupt the ANC would become and the state South Africa would be reduced to.

  • Neall Ellis says:

    Why is the DA under the leadership of Steenhuisen hounding the President? Are there not more pressing and important issues to investigate than money found in a couch. Why does the DA not focus on the corruption associated with ESCOM, the SANRAL bridge contracts and a host more fraudulent deals which have more impact on the citizens of the country?

  • D'Esprit Dan says:

    Pretty lame cabinet reshuffle. Biggest news I suppose is Lindiwe Sisulu getting booted (way overdue) and NDZ being consigned to the largely rudderless post of Ministry of Women, Youth and Disabilities in the Presidency. Not even sure it had a budget. Sadly, too many useless, corrupt and vain glorious idiots persist.

  • D'Esprit Dan says:

    It’s ESKOM, but that’s me being pedantic. The opposition, not only the DA, is taking the ANC to task over its abysmal and corrupt rule. Ramaphosa’s corrupt farm deals are a part of this: if our head of state is shifting millions (tens, hundreds of millions?) in undeclared forex through the system, he needs to be lashed for it, especially when he has dodged every question posed with a cowardice and sleaze only the guilty are capable of.

  • Glyn Morgan says:

    Great job John! Nail the baddies!

  • Glyn Morgan says:

    Neall Ellis – IF you did a bit of reading you will notice that the DA and John Steenhuisen have focused on numerous aspects of the short-comings of the ANC. That includes ESCOM, the SANRAL.

  • Jane Crankshaw says:

    There is much more about this matter than meets the eye. For example…did the Prez even know this deal was being done? Apparently he was away when his manager was approached with the offer to purchase the game….that couldn’t leave the country for logistical reasons. Is this a set up or is CR really so stupid as to not declare the purchase? If the money was stolen, was there anything to declare anyway? The whole saga is odd! And as for the DA – perhaps their efforts should be concentrating on seeing that the people in need are taken care of – a bit of positive PR amongst the non DA voting public would go down really well about now! What a missed opportunity!

  • Johann Olivier says:

    CP is being ‘hounded’ by the DA because his actions are likely criminal and South Africa is, at least putatively, a land of laws. It’s all part and parcel of the general rot that needs to be illuminated and addressed. No exceptions.

  • Errol Price says:

    For the information ( pedantic) of Dee Bee below .
    Correct English : ” … that’s my being pedantic ”
    As for the monumental intellectual confusion emanating from the pen of Ms Crankshaw below , one’s jaw can only drop in bewilderment.
    A five -year old child of moderate intelligence would scarce believe the fantastical tale spouted by Ramaphosa in relation to Phala Phala. It reeks of lies and dissimulation.
    Really !!

  • Roelf Pretorius says:

    No wonder South Africa is starting to approach being a failed state. No, not because of the pathetic way we are being governed although that may also contribute, but because SA is probably the only country where victims of crime are being victimed just because the public wants some sensationalist excitement; the money of Ramaphosa’s farm was stolen, which means that Ramaphosa is the victim, but just because Arthur Fraser decided to cause some sensation by making a lot of false accusations, everyone, even those who know full well that the real problem is Fraser himself, now accuses the victim for their own enjoyment. The DA leadership falls under this last category because they are being paid to know. Mustafa said he declared it at the border post, which means the department of Internal Affairs, is that not? So of course SARS would not know about it, the DA was looking at the wrong place! Or did they do it on purpose just to cause more sensation? One thing is certain, SA is not going to solve its problems in this way, and neither is the DA going to become the government like that, because unlike the typical DA supporter, the African ubuntu culture should enable them to see through this as they have for the last more than 20 years. And this opportunistic stunt of the DA may just cause the ANC to get back to power on its own, or maybe, even worse, in coalition with the EFF. The solution is for us to stop being impressed with all these cheap stunts & convey it to the politicians.

  • Stefan Hendriks says:

    Change must come from the top. If the top is rotten, it must be the highest priority in the land to remove it. Will that solve the problem or most or all of the problems? No, that will require ongoing vigilance and effort by many, but without change at the top nothing can follow but piecemeal effort.

  • david clegg clegg says:

    I think Business Day does itself no favours using headlines like this. It is sensationalist and unsupported by the (apparant) facts, which are that Customs and Excise (SARS) cannot find any declaration by Mr Mustafa that he brought foreign cash into the country. That is a problem for Mr Mustafa on any future visit to this country, not for Mr Ramaphosa.
    While Mr Mustafa’s narrative about how he came to be on Mr Ramaphosa’s farm with the cash is odd, we all know the rich do things differently from us common mortals and I would not make too much of it until some hard evidence of collusion between Mr M and Mr R comes to light.
    In the meantime, I fail to detect a bloody nose for Mr Ramaphosa.

  • Stefan Hendriks says:

    Corruption is a disease. Once endemic, it affects all who observe it or whom it touches. Then the thievery becomes prolific and masquerades as the norm and begins to feed on itself, industries shrink and collapse and job opportunities die. The innocent are recruited because they need to feed themselves, hope shrivels. Our inertia has allowed our leaders to steal from their poorest citizens … this is our national shame.

  • frances hardie says:

    Beware the sword of Damocles…

  • Deon Botha-Richards says:

    Why is there no acknowledgment of the separation between the juristic entity Phala Phala and the owner? It is the business that has to declare income and foreign exchange transactions. One cannot hold a separate legal person responsible for the actions of the company.

    Ultimately it would be the manager of the farm who is responsible for the affairs of the business.

    The DA are posturing for political purposes.

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