By Eliaser Ndeyanale and Shelleygen Petersen | 2 December 2022
NAMIBIAN opposition parties say a report on the alleged cover-up of the Phala Phala robbery confirms that South African president Cyril Ramaphosa and his counterpart Hage Geingob abused their powers.
This comes as Geingob has been dragged into Ramaphosa’s alleged unlawful actions surrounding the cover-up of a robbery of undeclared foreign currency at the neighbouring head of state’s farm.
This includes suspects being traced to Namibia and Ramaphosa asking Geingob to assist him with the arrest of the alleged mastermind of the robbery, Imanuwela David, in 2020.
Ramaphosa’s investigators, headed by his head of security Wally Rhoode, allegedly told a senior Namibian police official to keep the robbery a secret “due to the sensitivity of the matter and the envisaged fallout it will create in South Africa”.
These and other explosive allegations are contained in a report by an independent panel that investigated whether there are grounds to impeach Ramaphosa for his actions after the robbery, allegedly committed by Namibian suspects, in February 2020.
Geingob’s press secretary, Alfredo Hengari, did not respond to questions sent to him yesterday.
Popular Democratic Movement (PDM) leader McHenry Venaani said yesterday: “There is a clear entanglement of power in the Phala Phala thing, and it will not go away from president Geingob, it will come and haunt him.
“I think our parliament should investigate through a select committee whether our president has abused power or not.”
Landless People’s Movement (LPM) spokesperson Eneas Mvula says the report shows that Ramaphosa’s political relationship with Geingob reveals signs of total disregard of the law they vowed to uphold.
“A serious misconduct as rightly concluded in the investigation report,” he said.
Ramaphosa never reported the burglary of what is still a disputed amount of US dollars from his game farm.
What is not in dispute is that the stolen money was hidden in the sofa at Ramaphosa’s game farm.
Fraser mentioned this when he blew the alleged cover-up wide open by laying criminal charges against Ramaphosa on 1 June.
He further alleged that Ramaphosa asked Geingob for help to track down a Phala Phala suspect who had illegally entered Namibia during the height of Covid-19.
Geingob and the Namibian authorities are extensively mentioned with the panel, headed by retired chief justice Sandile Ngcobo, finding prima facie evidence that Ramaphosa and Geingob were talking at the time of the investigation; Rhoode’s team investigated the matter in Namibia; Namibian and South African authorities met in ‘no man’s land’ at the Ariamsvlei border; there was a request to the Namibian Police to “handle the matter with discretion”; and that Ramaphosa asked for Geingob’s assistance in the investigation.
ABUSE OF POWER
A report submitted to the South African parliament on Wednesday this week suggests that South African president Cyril Ramaphosa abused his position when he asked president Geingob to have Imanuwela David arrested.
David is one of the four Namibian men accused of stealing millions from Ramaphosa’s Phala Phala farm in February 2020.
He was arrested by the Namibian Police in June 2020 in Windhoek.
Those who arrested him include deputy commissioner Abner Agas and police chief Joseph Shikongo.
The Ngcobo-headed panel was put together to investigate the circumstances around an alleged cover-up of a robbery that took place at Ramaphosa’s private farm.
The report says there is prima facie information that “there was a deliberate intention not to investigate the commission of the crimes committed at Phala Phala openly”.
It states that Ramaphosa may have committed a serious violation of the law, “which imposes an obligation . . . to report corrupt activities such as theft, fraud, extortion or forgery”.
It also suggested Ramaphosa may have violated the constitution by “acting in a way that is inconsistent with his office”.
The report will be considered by the South African parliament to determine the way forward, which could result in Ramaphosa’s impeachment.
In June 2022, Fraser named Petrus Muhekeni, Shikongo, Urbanus Shaumbwako, Imanuwela David and Petrus Afrikaner as the perpetrators of the heist at Ramaphosa’s farm.
However, Muhekeni denied having stolen the money.
“The president [Ramaphosa] abused his position as head of state to have the matter investigated and seek the assistance of the Namibian president to apprehend a suspect,” the report indicates.
CYRIL’S SOFA BANK
According to the report, Ramaphosa claimed the foreign currency stolen from his farm was the proceeds of the sale of a parcel of buffalo to a Sudanese businessman.
Following the commission of this crime, Ramaphosa allegedly instructed Rhoode to investigate the incident.
Rhoode put together an investigating team which included a former South African Police Service (SAPS) official who happens to be a social worker.
“This investigating team did not follow the normal SAPS practice of investigation as there was no case number or docket,” the panel said.
The panel also found that the investigation was carried out using state resources.
Subsequent to David’s arrest in June 2020, Ramaphosa’s head of protection unit, major general Wally Rhoode, accompanied by Ramaphosa’s adviser Bejani Chauke, travelled to Namibia.
They drove up to the border post where they completed the necessary documentation. From there they drove to ‘no man’s land’ where they waited for the Namibian Police to meet them.
Rhoode and Chauke were picked up in a helicopter and went to Windhoek, where they arrived in the evening.
“They went to see the president of Namibia in the morning,” the panel said in the report.
Rhoode allegedly remained outside as he was not part of Chauke and Geingob’s meeting.
“While he cannot say what was discussed at the meeting, he is adamant that the meeting had nothing to do with the alleged robbery,” the panel said.
The panel said the information presented to them was that Rhoode’s team went to Namibia as part of their investigation of the crime committed at Phala Phala.
‘FACE THE MUSIC’
Commenting on the matter yesterday, Venaani said the report released in South Africa this week paints a picture of the abuse of power by both Geingob and Ramaphosa.
He said if Geingob happened to be found guilty he would be forced to pay for the helicopter used to pick up Chauke and Rhoode.
Emvula believes Geingob should be tried for all the accusations of corruption.
“Geingob, as proponent of alleged crimes, should be put through existing institutions . . . and he and State House office staff must face the music . . . “ he said.
Meanwhile, constitutional law analyst Nico Horn says the report does not implicate Geingob but the focus is rather on his counterpart Ramaphosa.
“No sort of legal or even moral comment on it. They just mentioned it. I would think that as it stands now that nothing on the record incriminates president Geingob in any way whatsoever,” he added.
He argues that the bone of contention lies with how Ramaphosa handled the matter as opposed to Geingob’s involvement.
“I would rather think that president Ramahosa has something to answer to,” he said.