#Coup_plotter: Elvis has SA all shook up
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Johannesburg – When Elvis Ramosebudi left his parents’ home they believed he was going to meet someone who wanted to fund his project. Instead he was walking into a police sting.
Last Wednesday members of the Hawks lured Ramosebudi to Midrand. They had been investigating him since October last year, and believed he was about to act on an assassination plan to kill 23 cabinet members and prominent South Africans.
The sting happened in a Midrand office, with undercover cops pretending to be potential funders.
“We played him dumb, he gave us everything, what he wanted to do, and after that we arrested him,” said the Hawks’ spokesperson, Brigadier Hangwani Mulaudzi.
Following his arrest, police raided his Soshanguve home, where he lived with his parents.
“He didn’t come back alone. He was accompanied by the police, and they came into the house and searched it. They turned the place around looking for something,” said Ramosebudi’s father, Stanley.
On Friday morning Ramosebudi made his first court appearance in the Johannesburg Magistrate’s Court, where more details emerged about the bizarre assassination plot and the 33-year-old’s attempt to solicit millions of rand from companies and well-known businessmen. He has been charged provisionally with conspiracy to commit murder.
But his parents are baffled. “My wife and I know nothing about the arrest. We just saw him on TV now. We don’t understand why he was arrested,” said Stanley.
“The last time I spoke to him was when we saw him on Wednesday.”
The Hawks allege Ramosebudi was a founding member of the Anti-State Capture Death Squad Alliance, and the Anti-White Monopoly Capitalists Regime. The elite crime-fighting unit believes he drew up a list of 23 people he planned to assassinate.
The list included President Jacob Zuma, his son Duduzane, Minister of Mineral Resources Mosebenzi Zwane, businessman Fana Hlongwane and the Gupta brothers. The Hawks believe he planned to kill them with a sniper’s rifle.
According to the Hawks, he then tried to raise R140 million by sending letters to companies and well-known business figures asking for funding. Ramosebudi allegedly sent letters to businessman Nicky Oppenheimer and the Gupta brothers.
“Some of these people became really afraid, and were worried something was going to happen,” said Mulaudzi.
What concerned the Hawks was that Ramosebudi had attempted to acquire a long-range sniper’s rifle in the US. He allegedly contacted an owner of CheyTac Intervention M-200 on Twitter with the aim of trying to get one of the rifles sent to South Africa.
He was believed to have asked for help to bring the rifle into the country and provided his Soshanguve address. The owner didn’t reply.
The rifle is considered to be a highly accurate weapon with an effective killing range of 2.3km. Special optics allow it to be fired both in the day and at night.
“We have a guy who is trying to get a firearm, a sniper’s rifle. We couldn’t take this lying down,” said Mulaudzi.
When Ramosebudi appeared in court on Friday, questions were also asked about his mental health.
A letter in his case docket stated that he should be sent for psychiatric evaluation.
“It is not normal for a person to use his own personal bank accounts and going around asking for money,” said State prosecutor King Masemola.
Magistrate Vincent Ratshibvumo then asked the accused if he had been in a mental institution. “I can’t recall,” he answered.
Ramosebudi’s parents said their son had no mental health issues.
“My son is okay,” said Stanley. “He doesn’t have any mental illness we know of.”
The Hawks agreed.
“No, upstairs he is fine. We checked him. He has no mental deficiencies,” said Mulaudzi.
But while the Hawks and his family say he is of sound mind, some of his behaviour, including his tweets, have been odd.
In one tweet, he asked Tshwane mayor Solly Msimanga for assistance to fix the engine in his new Toyota Venture.
He also tweeted former Bafana Bafana captain Jimmy Tau, asking him to help him with a new car engine.
Stanley described his son as a bit of a home body, who had attended a private school. “But he wasn’t a big fan of school. He went as far as Grade 10.”
Meanwhile, the Hawks’ investigation continues. They haven’t ruled out the possible arrest of more suspects. A person close to the investigation suggested that the letters might have been written by someone else. “He only has a Grade 10, but the English used in those letters suggests the possibility of an accomplice,” said the person, who didn’t want to be named.
Ramosebudi will be back in court on Tuesday when he said he would apply for bail.