General Bantu Holomisa, an anti-corruption crusader who leads the UDM, wrote to the Speaker of the National Assembly, Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula, demanding that the matter be probed.
AS PRESSURE mounts on President Cyril Ramaphosa over his role in covering up the robbery at his Phala Phala farm in February 2020, an opposition party leader wants him suspended while a probe is under way.
On Monday, General Bantu Holomisa, an anti-corruption crusader who leads the UDM (United Democratic Movement), wrote to the Speaker of the National Assembly, Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula, demanding that the matter be probed.
The demand for a probe stems from a criminal case against Ramaphosa and some of his close protection unit members for allegedly concealing the theft of cash in US dollars. The theft was allegedly committed by Namibian nationals who conspired with a domestic worker on the farm.
Holomisa does not want the matter to go unprobed and says while on his sabbatical, Ramaphosa’s position will be taken over by an acting president.
“These allegations have been greatly destructive of the country’s image, both at home and abroad. And it is likely to affect investor confidence negatively; especially given that President Ramaphosa has acted as a champion of good governance and now this bomb has burst over his very own head.
“Given the existing dynamics with the alleged involvement of the police and the State Security Agency, but in main that Parliament has a responsibility to make oversight over the executive, the UDM would suggest that President Ramaphosa take sabbatical leave, until mid-August 2022.
“Then, that Parliament and the acting President may institute a preliminary investigation into the entire matter with terms of reference that would include if the South African Revenue Services and the Reserve Bank had any knowledge of the matter,” Holomisa wrote to Mapisa-Nqakula.
In the local currency, the money is said to be around R69 million and it was kept on the game farm in hard cash, thus allegedly contravening exchange control laws.
The Phala Phala farm robbery matter has also raised more questions than answers as Ramaphosa and his spokesperson, Vincent Magwenya have been ducking questions, sometimes giving incoherent answers.
It has since emerged that the Namibian government alerted the South African government about suspicious money transfers from the South African accounts of the suspects to their banks.
This now raises questions about how the money was moved back to Ramaphosa. Was it via banks or was it given back to him in hard cash? If it was via banks, it implies that some laws regarding international transfers were broken.
Closing the elective conference of the ANC in Limpopo on Sunday, Ramaphosa said the matter has to do with politics. Furthermore, he denied any wrongdoing and refused to divulge exactly how much was stolen from the farm.
“I acknowledge there is much public interest and concern about claims that have been made in a criminal complaint against me. I remain fully focused on the tasks that I have been given by the people of our country.
“I want to reaffirm I was not involved in any criminal conduct. I pledge my full co-operation to any investigation,” Ramaphosa told party delegates.