The Hawks have finally made a breakthrough in the Phala Phala farm housebreaking, where millions in foreign currency were stolen at the farm owned by President Cyril Ramaphosa.
An unknown amount, believed to be between $580,000 or in excess of $4 million, was stolen in February 2020 during a housebreaking at the president’s farm. The money was reportedly stuffed into furniture on the farm.
The spokesperson for the Hawks, formally known as the Directorate for Priority Crimes, Colonel Katlego Mogale, said the two suspects, aged 30 and 39, were set to appear at the Bela Bela Magistrate's Court on Tuesday.
The suspects were arrested on Sunday and Monday, respectively, on charges of housebreaking and theft.
“The pair was arrested in Rustenburg and Bela Bela, respectively, by the members of the National Serious Corruption Investigation in relation to the Phala Phala farm break in February 2020. The arrest of the third suspect is imminent,” said Mogane.
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 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.