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Will R10 million Phala Phala theft accused siblings be released on bail? Court set to rule

Three people in the dock

Siblings Ndilishano and Froliana Joseph, and their co-accused and Imanuwela David at the Bela Bela Magistrate’s Court during a previous appearance. File Picture: Oupa Mokoena / Independent Newspapers

Published Nov 17, 2023


Three people who were arrested in connection with the theft at President Cyril Ramaphosa’s Phala Phala wildlife reserve in Limpopo will on Friday return to the Bela-Bela Magistrate’s Court.

The Limpopo court is set to hand down judgment on the applications of two of the three suspects who are facing several charges in connection with the theft of $580,000 (around R10.87 million) on February 9, 2020.

Last week, IOL reported that Froliana Joseph, who was a domestic worker at the Phala Phala farm, appeared alongside her brother, Ndilinasho Joseph, and alleged accomplice, Imanuela David.

The State did not oppose bail for two of the bail applicants, Froliana and Ndilinasho Joseph, but gave stringent bail conditions such as the handing over of passports and R5,000 bail for Froliana and R10,000 bail for Ndilinasho.

President Cyril Ramaphosa later confirmed the robbery at his Phala Phala Farm, which happened in 2020. He said the money was from the sale of game. File Picture: Jeffrey Abrahams

However, David’s legal representative, only identified as Mr Matlala, could not make it to the court on Friday last week, according to senior State advocate Nkhetheni Gerald Munyai.

“I received a call that his (David’s) lawyer will not make it to court today,” Munyai said during the trio’s previous appearance.

At the time, Matlala then indicated that David’s bail application would be filed at the next court appearance, on November 17.

The trio is charged with conspiracy to commit housebreaking with intent to steal and theft, housebreaking with intent to steal, theft, and money laundering.

Froliana and Imanuela were arrested earlier last week, while Ndilinasho handed himself over to the police days later.

Froliana denied any involvement and requested that the court take into account the period that she had already spent behind bars and the interests of her minor child.

Her brother, who is accused number three, also denied any involvement while pressuring for bail, saying the State’s case was questionable.

Magistrate Predeshni Poonan postponed the case to consider the aspects of the matter.

The stash of money was allegedly hidden in furniture, as stated by former head of the State Security Agency, Arthur Fraser, who blew the lid on the whole matter. This led to, among others, allegations of tax evasion against Ramaphosa, but was later cleared by SA Revenue Service.

Former State Security Agency director-general Arthur Fraser. File Picture: Chantall Presence

The money is said to be proceeds from the sale of buffalo herds to Sudanese businessman Hazim Mustafa. Froliana Joseph, employed as a cleaner at the lodge, is accused of discovering the concealed cash and informing her accomplices, leading to the burglary.

Last week, after months of investigations which have spanned various tiers of the State from the Public Protector to the SA Reserve Bank, the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation (also known as the Hawks) finally charged the Joseph siblings and Imanuwela David for the burglary.