Molefe Seeletsa

By Molefe Seeletsa

Digital Journalist

Ramaphosa exonerated by Reserve Bank over Phala Phala farm saga

The Reserve Bank's report will not be made public.

President Cyril Ramaphosa has been cleared of wrongdoing in the 2020 Phala Phala farm scandal by the South African Reserve Bank (SARB).

The SARB’s investigation was launched last year following allegations made by former State Security Agency (SSA) director-general, Arthur Fraser and complaints laid by various parties.

The Reserve Bank probed whether foreign exchange control rules were broken by Ramaphosa since the cash stolen from the president’s Phala Phala farm in Limpopo was in the United States (US) dollar currency.

Ramaphosa previously claimed to have received the $580 000 from Sudanese businessman, Hazim Mustafa as payment for livestock.

The SARB finalised its investigation last week, but its report will not be made available to the public due to “legislative requirements and constraints”.

“The report by the SARB into this matter is a private internal report,” the Reserve Bank’s statement reads.

The report found that Ramaphosa did not violate the Exchange Control Regulations.

According to the Reserve Bank, the conclusion was reached on the basis that Ramaphosa’s company, which manages the Phala Phala game farm, was not “legally entitled” to the foreign currency.

ALSO READ: ‘Phala Phala videos’ not from Ramaphosa’s farm, says acting public protector

Therefore, the president or Ntaba Nyoni Estate had no legal obligation to have declared the cash as required by the law because the buffalo was never delivered to Mustafa.

“On the facts available to it, the SARB finds that there was no perfected transaction and thus the SARB cannot conclude that there was any contravention of the exchange control regulations… by Ntaba Nyoni Estates CC or for that matter by the president.

“That is because the SARB has concluded that the transaction in question was subject to conditions precedent which were not fulfilled, and therefore there was no legal entitlement, within the meaning of Regulation (6)(1), on the part of Ntaba Nyoni Estates CC, to the foreign currency,” the SARB said.

The Reserve Bank took almost a year to complete its investigation, consisting of 15 affidavits, dozens of documents running into hundreds of pages and interviewing relevant individuals.

Public Protector, Sars probe

In June, Acting Public Protector Kholeka Gcaleka also exonerated Ramaphosa over his conduct in the theft.

Gcaleka found that the allegations on whether Ramaphosa had violated the Executive Ethics Code and there was a conflict of interest between his business dealings and his constitutional obligations were “not substantiated”.

The African Transformation Movement (ATM), which initially lodged a complaint with the Public Protector’s office, has already gone to court to challenge the report.

READ MORE: ‘Public Protector’s findings are irrational’: ATM files papers to set aside Phala Phala report

In addition, the South African Revenue Service (Sars) confirmed earlier this year that the cash found at Phala Phala was not declared when it arrived in the country.

Sars, however, also indicated that the president and his companies were tax obligations complaint.

Meanwhile, the Hawks is still investigating the Phala Phala matter.

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