President Cyril Ramaphosa has denied allegations levelled against him by former state security boss Arthur Fraser who opened a criminal case against him, for allegedly stealing more than $4 million (R62 million) and paying people to conceal the matter.
Ramaphosa delved into the allegations while he addressed the Limpopo ANC Regional Conference during its closing ceremony on Sunday.
He acknowledged there is much public interest and concern about the claims made against him but passionately denied any wrongdoing.
“Some are casting aspersions about me and about money. I assure that all this was money from proceeds from selling animals. I have never stolen money from anywhere ... and will never do so. I have never stolen money from our taxpayers. My integrity as a leader will never allow me to do so.
“I will continue to fight corruption. Some of these things have their own political agenda,” Ramaphosa said.
Ramaphosa earlier responded, via his spokesperson, to the claims made by Fraser, who has been heavily implicated in testimony at the State Capture Commission of Inquiry. Fraser laid formal criminal charges against Ramaphosa at Rosebank police station on Wednesday night.
According to Fraser’s media statement, the case emanated from the alleged theft of “in excess of $4m” concealed “within the premises of the president’s Phala Phala farm in Waterberg, Limpopo”.
He accused Ramaphosa of defeating the ends of justice, kidnapping suspects who were allegedly questioned on his property at Phala Phala farm. Fraser claimed the theft was carried out by robbers in collusion with Ramaphosa’s domestic worker.
Ramaphosa confirmed the incident but told the Limpopo conference attendees that the amount was “far less” than what is being said.
Ramaphosa said he reported the incident to the head of the Presidential Protection Unit of the SAPS for investigation.
“I remain fully focused on the tasks I have been given by the people of our country.
“I want to reaffirm that I was not involved in any criminal conduct. I pledge my full co-operation with any form of investigation. Due to the investigation, I will not really be able to engage deeply or further on this matter.
“However, I like to say that I am a farmer. I am in the cattle and game business which has been declared.
“I buy and sell animals.
“Some of the people who are offshore and sometimes local, they come to hunt on the farm. This was a clear business transaction.
“The amount is far less than what was brandished in the press,” Ramaphosa said in Limpopo on Sunday.
He spoke at the closing ceremony of the province’s conference.
Ramaphosa commended the provincial ANC for producing a “wonderful declaration and wonderful reports”.
“I applaud you and what you did.
“I hear it was not only a jovial but a very successful conference,” he said.
Ramaphosa also commended those who contested and lost for showing “political maturity”.
“In the end, the side that won, is the ANC. So when you depart from this conference, I would like you to depart as one, a united ANC of Limpopo,” he said.
Other provinces should learn from Limpopo how a conference is run, he added.
He urged party members to work hard to demonstrate the ANC’s determination to serve the people of South Africa.
“We dropped the ball in many instances.
“Now we are focusing our attention on what we can put right on what went wrong … ” he said.
Limpopo ANC provincial chairperson Stan Mathabatha retained the position of provincial chairperson after he won by a huge majority against his rival Dickson Masemola.
Mathabatha won by 781 votes against 389 votes for Masemola.