The Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation, commonly known as the Hawks, has arrested two men linked to the 2020 theft at President Cyril Ramaphosa’s Phala Phala farm. The breakthrough comes after an undisclosed amount of foreign currency, believed to be between $580,000 and over $4 million, was reported stolen from the president’s property.
The two suspects, aged 30 and 39, were apprehended in Rustenburg and Bela Bela, respectively, and are set to appear at the Bela Bela Magistrate’s Court. The Hawks’ spokesperson, Colonel Katlego Mogale, confirmed the arrests and indicated that the apprehension of a third suspect is imminent.
The Phala Phala saga gained public attention last year when former spy boss Arthur Fraser accused President Ramaphosa of money laundering and other offenses, prompting a series of investigations. The president faced intense scrutiny, with a panel led by Retired Chief Justice Sandile Ngcobo suggesting that Ramaphosa may have violated several laws. However, the president decided not to review the panel’s findings after the ANC, using its majority, blocked further probes into the matter.
In the wake of the controversy, several political entities and NGOs called for President Ramaphosa to step down. Despite the political turmoil, the newly appointed Public Protector, Kholeka Gcaleka, cleared Ramaphosa of any wrongdoing related to the incident. Additionally, the South African Reserve Bank concluded that no exchange control regulations had been breached.
The incident at Phala Phala farm has stirred debates on the security of high-profile individuals and the transparency of their private affairs. With the recent arrests, the focus now shifts to the judicial process and the potential implications for the presidency and the ruling party’s dynamics.
The case continues to unfold as the nation watches closely, awaiting the outcomes of the legal proceedings and the potential third arrest. The incident underscores the ongoing challenges of governance and accountability in South Africa’s political landscape.