Home South African ‘It’s a man and a woman’: Hawks arrest two for Phala Phala...

‘It’s a man and a woman’: Hawks arrest two for Phala Phala housebreaking

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The Hawks said there may be more arrests to come in relation to the housebreaking at President Cyril Ramaphosa’s Phala Phala farm where millions of rand worth of foreign currency was stolen.

Graphics of a man and US dollars
Two people have been arrested for the February 2020 housebreaking and theft of money at President Cyril Ramaphosa’s farm. File picture

TWO PEOPLE will appear before the Bela Bela Magistrate’s Court on Tuesday for the housebreaking incident where millions in foreign currency was stolen at the farm owned by President Cyril Ramaphosa in Limpopo.

On Monday, the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation (the Hawks) announced a breakthrough in the Phala Phala farm housebreaking case by arresting the duo.

An unknown amount, believed to be between $580,000 and $4 million, was stolen in February 2020 during a housebreaking at the president’s farm. The money had reportedly been stuffed in furniture on the farm.

On Tuesday morning, a spokesperson for the Hawks, Colonel Katlego Mogale, revealed that the two arrested suspects are a man and a woman aged 30 and 39.

“I think we should not pre-empt that (their identities), you will be able to hear that in court, as to who they are. The 39-year-old is male and the 30-year-old is female,” Mogale told broadcaster Newzroom Afrika at the court.

She also highlighted that additional arrests are on the cards.

“In favour of not divulging our strategic investigation, we are not ruling out the possibility that more suspects will be arrested with regards to the case,” said Mogale.

She said although it has taken over three years, the elite investigators have now sussed out who the suspects are and arrested two.

The suspects were arrested on Sunday and Monday respectively on charges of housebreaking and theft.

“The pair was arrested in Rustenburg and Bela Bela by the members of the National Serious Corruption Investigation in relation to the Phala Phala farm break-in in February 2020. The arrest of the third suspect is imminent,” Mogale said on Monday.

The Phala Phala saga was exposed last year by former spy boss Arthur Fraser, who laid criminal charges of money laundering against Ramaphosa and his head of security, General Wally Rhoode, at the Rosebank Police station on June 1, 2022.

Ramaphosa came under severe public scrutiny over the saga, with a panel led by Retired Chief Justice Sandile Ngcobo finding that Ramaphosa had a case to answer and that he may have violated a number of laws.

“In light of all the information placed before the Panel, we conclude that this information discloses, prima facie, that the President may have committed: 264.1. A serious violation of Section 96(2)(a). 264.2. A serious violation of Section 34(1) of PRECCA 264.3. A serious misconduct in that the President violated Section 96(2)(b) by acting in a way that is inconsistent with his office. 264.4. A serious misconduct in that the President violated Section 96(2)(b) by exposing himself to a situation involving a conflict between his official responsibilities and his private business of the Constitution,” said the report.

Ramaphosa had initially said he would take the panel’s findings on review, but in May, the Presidency announced he would no longer be taking the report on review as it had been dealt with by Parliament after the ANC used its majority to block any further probe into the matter.

Minister for Women and Children, Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, was among a few of the ANC MPs who voted against the party line.

The Public Protector has also cleared Ramaphosa, with advocate Kholeka Gcaleka, who at the time was acting in the office, exonerated Ramaphosa. She is now set to defend her ruling in court after the Hola Bon Renaissance (HBR) Foundation launched a bid to overturn her report.

The SA Reserve Bank also found that Ramaphosa was not legally entitled to the cash, but it also found that since the transaction of the 20 buffalo purchase was not “perfected” as the foreign businessman never received delivery of the buffalo, there was no legal obligation on Ramaphosa or his Ntaba Nyoni entity to have declared the foreign currency under exchange control regulations.

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