Farmgate: Claims of 'Stolen Millions' Could Scupper South African President's Re-Election Bid
© Sputnik / Алексей НикольскийSouth African President Cyril Ramaphosa at a BRICS group of country meeting in July 2018. File photo.
© Sputnik / Алексей Никольский/
A former intelligence director, Arthur Fraser, opened a complaint against the South African President last week, alleging in a leaked affidavit to the police that robbers who targeted Cyril Ramaphosa's game farm in 2020 found $4 million (€3.7 million) in foreign currency stashed there. Fraser accused Ramaphosa of money laundering and corruption.
The South African President may face an uphill reelection battle later this year and then in 2023 general elections amid the recent accusations of having stolen and concealed millions of dollars at one of his game farms.
Already dubbed “farmgate”, the scandal erupted after an ex-intelligence director, Arthur Fraser, alleged in a leaked affidavit to the police that thieves who infiltrated Ramaphosa's game farm in the northern Limpopo province on February 9, 2020, discovered $4 million (€3.7 million) in foreign currency hidden inside furniture.
According to the affidavit, cited by media outlets, the criminals were apprehended and the money recovered. However, Ramaphosa purportedly had the men tracked down, "abducted" by his protection unit, interrogated, and then paid off to buy their silence.
Ramaphosa, who has not been formally charged with any crime, insisted those funds were private on 5 June.
"I am in the cattle business and game business. … I buy and sell animals… So this was a clear business transaction of selling animals," Ramaphosa said, closing the provincial conference of the African National Congress in Limpopo.
A police spokesperson confirmed that authorities had started investigating the allegations.
The South African president will now appear before the Integrity Commission of his party, the African National Congress (ANC), to respond to the claims.
The allegations could result in prosecution for tax evasion or criminal charges.
If Cyril Ramaphosa is discovered to have broken the law or the party’s ethics code, the ANC committee could suspend him or ask him to step down.
The president’s allies have slammed the accusations as politically motivated. According to them, Arthur Fraser bears a grudge against Ramaphosa, who fired him.
Ramaphosa “needs to stop hiding behind the false cover of a “pending investigation”, said John Steenhuisen, the leader of the opposition Democratic Alliance.
“The robbery that took place on my farm Phala Phala in 2020 is the subject of a criminal complaint, and the law must take its course. In other words, due process must be followed,” 69-year-old Cyril Ramaphosa told lawmakers in parliament last week.