IPID told to release report into police cover-up of Phala Phala

African Transformation Movement (ATM) president Vuyo Zungula is fighting with the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (IPID) to release an investigation report into the police cover-up of the Phala Phala scandal.

African Transformation Movement (ATM) president Vuyo Zungula is fighting with the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (IPID) to release an investigation report into the police cover-up of the Phala Phala scandal.

Published May 19, 2024



The Independent Police Investigative Directorate (IPID) has been requested to unseal the investigation report into how police officials covered up the theft of dollars from President Cyril Ramaphosa’s couches in the Phala Phala Farmgate, in Limpopo.

The African Transformation Movement (ATM) said it had been denied access to the report. The party said that even after several attempts to get the report, it has been ignored.

This was after the ATM wrote to IPID and requested an investigation into 11 matters relating to the alleged police cover-up of the theft at Phala Phala farm.

The complaint was launched on June 21, 2022.

IPID spokesperson Phaladi Shuping said the investigation into the matter has been completed and a recommendation report was referred to the SAPS to institute disciplinary steps in line with their regulations.

Police spokesperson Athlenda Mathe did not respond.

The theft of $580 000 (about R8.7 million at the time) from Phala Phala came to light when former spy boss Arthur Fraser laid a criminal complaint against Ramaphosa.

The charges included defeating the ends of justice, kidnapping of suspects, interrogation on his property and bribery.

In the complaint issued in June 2022, ATM president Vuyo Zungula said the Namibian police were in contact with a few South African police officers following the burglary and theft at the Phala Phala farm. Zungula said the Inspector General of the Namibian police force, Lieutenant General Sebastian Ndeitunga, in his attempt to come clean, issued a press statement confirming that his police met their South African counterparts in “no-man's-land” on June 19, 2020, to share operational information regarding a certain David Imanuwela and other Namibian nationals suspected of having fled to Namibia after stealing from South Africa.

He said it was reported that the newly appointed Police Commissioner, Fannie Masemola, and his predecessor, Khehla Sitole, were in the know about the burglary, theft and related matters.

“Of concern to the ATM is the damning allegation that these two above-mentioned high-ranking officers of the law are mired in some secretive and off-the-books investigation into the burglary, which happened on February 9, 2020, at the President’s farm, Phala-Phala,” said Zungula.

Zungula said that it was also revealed that top brass in the Crime Intelligence Division were tasked with the back-channel tracing of the loot and those who stole it. He said it was also revealed that the Presidential Protection Unit head, Wally Rhoode, called on the then Crime Intelligence boss Peter Jacobs for manpower and resources to probe the theft, which was never formally reported.

“(News24) reported that their sources said high-ranking officers from Pretoria and Polokwane, along with Rhoode, were dispatched to the game farm to undertake a fresh threat and risk assessment of security and that the elite Special Task Force were stationed in the veld surrounding the farm.

“It is common cause that in the affidavit deposed by Arthur Fraser at the Rosebank Police Station, he alleges that Rhoode, as well as active former Crime Intelligence officials, kidnapped and interrogated suspects that are named in his affidavit,” said Zungula.

He said these were very serious and damning allegations which had the potential to erode the confidence of the public in the SAPS. Zungula added that it was against this background that the ATM requested that the conduct of the police be investigated and if substantiated, that corrective action be taken against all the affected individuals.

ATM chief staff in Parliament Mxolisi Makhubu said despite numerous attempts and requests to obtain the investigative report, the IPID has refused to provide the party with the necessary information, even after the completion of the investigation.

Makhubu said the report was sealed and not even communicated to the party as complainants or the general public.

He said this has been a cause for concern and raises questions about the transparency and openness of the investigative process.

In one of the following letters written to IPID on January 26, last year, after the meeting on July 11, 2022, Zungula said it was agreed that the ATM would be given weekly reports with updates on the steps taken to advance the investigation, but the party did not enjoy such liberties.

This is not the first time law enforcement agencies have been accused of covering the Phala Phala scandal in an attempt to protect Ramaphosa.

Last week, the State Security Agency’s (SSA’s) former chairperson of the staff council, Xolile Mashukuca, accused Inspector-General of Intelligence (OIGI) and Police Minister Bheki Cele of conspiring to keep the report into Ramaphosa’s alleged abuse meant for crime intelligence a secret in an attempt to cover up the scandal.

Mashukuca, who launched a complaint in 2022, was also denied the report.