DA welcomes Public Protector’s subpoena of Ramaphosa over Phala Phala theft
DA welcomes Public Protector’s subpoena of Ramaphosa over Phala Phala theft. Photo: GCIS

The Presidency has ‘quashed’ allegations of criminal conduct on President Cyril Ramaphosa’s behalf following a burglary at his Limpopo farm, Phala Phala, in February 2020.

The allegations have been made by former Correctional Services Commissioner, Arthur Fraser, who released a media statement on Wednesday, alleging that during the 2020 incident, at least $4 million had been stolen from the President’s farm, and that President Ramaphosa had “concealed the crime” from police and from the SA Revenue Service, and detained and interrogated the culprits and “thereafter paid (them) for their silence”.

In a statement, the Presidency denied these claims, saying:

“President Ramaphosa is clear that there is no basis for the claims of criminal conduct that have been made against him in Mr Fraser’s statement. The Presidency can confirm that a robbery took place at the President’s farm in Limpopo on or around 9 February 2020, in which proceeds from the sale of game were stolen.

“The President was attending an African Union Summit in Addis Ababa at the time the incident occurred. On being advised of the robbery, President Ramaphosa reported the incident to the head of the Presidential Protection Unit of the South African Police Service for investigation.”

The Presidency said President Ramaphosa is “ready to cooperate with any law enforcement investigation of these matters” after Fraser laid charges of kidnapping and bribery against the President based on the allegations, and furnished the police with photographs, bank account details and video footage.

The Presidency said: “President Ramaphosa remains resolute in leading the fight against corruption, restoring the integrity and capability of public institutions and overcoming the legacy of State capture, and will not be deterred by disinformation campaigns.”

Reactions have been mixed. Ferial Haffajee tweeted: “Some questions for @PresidencyZA
1. Why didn’t you tell us before?
2. Why didn’t you bank the money?
3. And what’s with the cash dealings? That is red flag 🚩 by the gazillion.
4. Remind us why the President appointed Arthur Fraser as Correctional Services Commissioner again?”

On the other hand, ANC NEC member Derek Hanekom said: “Arthur Fraser is a crook with no credibility whatsoever.”

Fraser is regarded as an ally of former President Jacob Zuma, and – according to the BBC – “some believe the allegations could be linked to wrangles within the ruling African National Congress (ANC) ahead of a leadership race in December.”