Pretoria - ATM president Vuyo Zungula has called on law enforcement authorities to suspend all police officers allegedly implicated in President Cyril Ramaphosa’s Phala Phala farm saga.
This follows reports of a cover-up and their complicity in an unlawful criminal investigation involving South Africa and Namibia.
Zungula wrote to Independent Police Investigative Directorate (Ipid) boss Jennifer Ntlatseng asking her to investigate police officers alleged to have gone to Namibia to trace individuals suspected of breaking into the Waterberg, Limpopo farm, where they allegedly stole huge amounts of cash in US dollars.
The complaint follows a police case in which former State Security Agency head Arthur Fraser deposed an affidavit detailing the burglary that took place in 2020.
Ramaphosa has not denied that there was a burglary, but has disputed that a reported amount of $4 million was stolen, stating the money taken was “way less” and came from proceeds of animal sales at his farm.
In his affidavit, the whistle-blower revealed that Presidential Protection Unit head Major Wally Rhoode travelled to the neighbouring country with some police officers to meet investigators of the Namibian police force at a place named “no man’s land”, where they sought help to apprehend the suspects.
Namibian Inspector-General, Lieutenant-General Sebastian Ndeitunga, said in a statement the suspects were apprehended and had their assets seized as they were believed to be proceeds of a crime that took place in South Africa.
However, Ndeitunga said the suspects had to be released and their assets unfrozen after the Namibian authorities failed to get co-operation from South African law enforcement in order for the Office of the Prosecutor General in Namibia to be able to execute a preservation order of the seized assets.
“The Inspector-General of the Namibian Police Force … Sebastian Ndeitunga, in his attempt to come clean, issued a press statement dated June 16, 2022 confirming that his police met with their South African counterparts in ‘no man’s land’ on June 19, 2020 to share operational information regarding a certain
Mr David Imanuwela and other Namibian nationals suspected of having fled to Namibia after stealing in South Africa.
“It has been reported that the new police commissioner General Fannie Masemola and his predecessor General Khehla Sitole were in the know about the burglary, theft and related matters,” wrote the ATM’s Zungula.
Zungula said it was suspicious that such high-ranking police officials handled the matter “off-book”.
“Media reports reveal that top brass in the crime intelligence division were tasked with the backchannel tracing of the loot and those who stole it.
“The sources stated that Presidential Protection Unit head Wally Rhoode called on the then crime intelligence boss Peter Jacobs for manpower and resources to probe the dollar heist, which was never formally reported … These are very serious and damning allegations which have the potential to erode the confidence of the public in the SAPS.
“It is against this background that the ATM is requesting that the conduct of the police be investigated
and if substantiated the corrective action be taken against all the affected individuals.
“The ATM is very concerned that the very officials will be over-seeing the current criminal investigation where they are implicated.
“The ATM strongly recommends that all the affected police officers should be suspended pending the investigation into their alleged complicity,” said Zungula.
Ipid spokesperson Lizzy Shuping confirmed that the ATM complaint was received. “We have received the letter of complaint from the ATM party. We are still assessing the contents of the letter and complaint,” she said.