Democratic Alliance (DA) leader John Steenhuisen has set out nine steps meant to ensure that President Cyril Ramaphosa is held accountable for the varied and serious allegations relating to the Phala Phala farm, DollarGate scandal.
In a statement the DA leader said that the scandal has cast “serious doubt over the integrity of the Presidency and led to real public mistrust in President Ramaphosa himself,”.
Steenhuisen said that the silence from Ramaphosa should end and that he should be honest and open with the nation about his involvement in the DollarGate saga.
He said the steps are important as there has since been new information implicating SAPS leadership directly.
“Therefore casting doubt on whether SAPS can be trusted to undertake an unbiased investigation.The Namibian police confirmed last week that they had met with their South African counterparts on the border near Noordoewer, to share operational information pertaining to the theft and that they dropped the matter after SAPS failed to produce a case number,” said Steenhuisen.
Steenhuisen said that the party has written to the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) requesting the investigation of allegations of possible money laundering by Ramaphosa.
“Specifically, we have requested that the FBI considers investigating the source of the funds and whether the money was brought into South Africa legitimately and declared to the appropriate authorities.
We have recommended that the ledgers or journals which would have recorded the alleged sale of wild game at auction be requested from the president, to determine the identities of those involved in the suspicious cash transactions,” he said.
He said that a cash transaction involving $4 million is deeply suspicious, especially since it was hidden in furniture with the theft investigated off the record and covered up.
The second step he said the party has taken is the writing to the Financial Intelligence Centre, who they would like to probe various alleged financial transactions that followed the theft, including the purchase of several luxury vehicles in cash.
“The FIC has a legislative mandate to identify the proceeds of crime in terms of the Financial Intelligence Centre Act of 2001,” said Steenhuisen.
Steenhuisen also said that they have sent various questions to the Tax Fraud Department at the South African Revenue Services, relating to the scandal as a third step.
Fourth, the DA leader said they have also written to Phindile Baleni, the Secretary of Cabinet in the Office of the Presidency, requesting information on Ramaphosa’s declaration of financial interests as required by the Executive Members Ethics Act No. 82 of 1998 and the Executive Ethics Code.
“Specifically, we want to determine if the business activities on the President’s Phala Phala game farm have been declared as financial interests, and when such declarations were made,” he said.
The fifth step, the party leader said, was penning a letter to Acting Public Protector Advocate Kholeka Gcaleka, and laying a formal complaint in terms of the Executive Members Ethics Act and to request her to investigate the alleged breaches of the Executive Ethics Code.
“President Ramaphosa may have breached the code by failing to report the theft, which he was by law obliged to do, and by using public resources, specifically the VIP protection unit within SAPS, to track and bring back his stolen dollars,” he said.
Sixth, Steenhuisen said the sent communication to National Police Commissioner Fannie Masemola asking him four questions which include:
1. Why was the Major-General Wally Rhoode sent to Namibia?
2. Why was no formal case opened?
3. Why was the theft covered up?
4. What did the investigation cost taxpayers?
Step number seven he said was to request the chairperson of the portfolio committee on justice and correctional services, Gratitude Magwanishe, to summon the Minister of Justice and have him explain why South Africa didn’t respond with a case number, and therefore assets had to be released.
“He has agreed in principle, pending permission from Parliament,” said Steenhuisen.
Eighth, is a written letter to the Minister of Public Works,Patricia de Lille regarding allegations that there were security upgrades at the Ramaphosa’s Phala Phala farm, and whether they were paid for, in full or part, using public funds.
Finally, Steenhuisen said that they have also written to the chairperson of the portfolio committee overseeing the police, Tina Joemat-Pettersson about Major-General Wally Rhoode, who the party wants to appear before the committee.
“In his affidavit, Mr Arthur Fraser alleges that the President sent Rhoode, the head of his VIP protection unit to travel to Namibia to conduct a secret investigation and/or interrogation, into those who were allegedly involved in the burglary.
It is possible, indeed likely, that this private investigation of a theft that was never formally reported to SAPS was done at the taxpayers’ expense,” said Steenhuisen.
He added that Rhoode needed to provide an account to Parliament of what had occurred in relation to him and/or the protection unit travelling to Namibia on the President’s instructions.
Steenhuisen said that the DA will look at every possible angle to hold President Ramaphosa to account for this saga.
“The rule of law, equality before the law, accountability, and the separation of party and state are core, non-negotiable principles of the Democratic Alliance.
They are the only foundation on which a prosperous, united South Africa can be built. No one should be above the law, least of all a sitting President,” he said.