Molefe Seeletsa
Digital Journalist
3 minute read
6 Jun 2022
10:09 pm

Ramaphosa urged to take sabbatical leave until August over $4 million robbery

Molefe Seeletsa

Sars and the SARB have been asked to investigate the robbery, which took place at the president's Phala Phala farm.

President Cyril Ramaphosa. Picture: Gallo Images / Netwerk 24/ Edrea du Toit

The United Democratic Movement (UDM) has called for President Cyril Ramaphosa to go on leave amid the police’s investigation into the $4 million robbery at his Limpopo farm.

Former Correctional Services national commissioner Arthur Fraser laid criminal charges against Ramaphosa for allegedly not reporting the robbery, accusing the president of breaching the Prevention of Organised Crime Act.

The robbery took place the president’s Phala Phala farm in Waterberg, Limpopo.

ALSO READ: Fraser’s motives for opening case against Ramaphosa should be interrogated – Presidency

The Presidency confirmed that a robbery did take place on or around 9 February 2020, in which proceeds from the sale of game were stolen, but denied allegations that Ramaphosa engaged in criminal conduct as alleged by Fraser.

Fraser had claimed that the suspects who broke into the president’s property were subsequently kidnapped, interrogated, and paid off to keep silent.

Sabbatical leave

UDM president Bantu Holomisa has since suggested that the president should take “sabbatical leave”.

“These allegations have been greatly destructive of the country’s image. both at home and abroad and is likely to affect investor confidence negatively; especially given that President Ramaphosa has acted the champion of good governance and now this bomb has burst over his very own head,” Holomisa said in a letter written to National Assembly Speaker, Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula.

“Given the existing dynamics with the alleged involvement of the police and the State Security Agency [SSA], but in main that Parliament has a responsibility to make oversight of the executive, the UDM would suggest that President Ramaphosa take sabbatical leave, until mid-August 2022,” he added.

READ MORE: Ramaphosa refuses to provide key details of $4 million robbery

Holomisa also called on Parliament to institute a preliminary investigation to determine whether the South African Revenue Service (Sars) as well as the South African Reserve Bank (SARB) had any knowledge regarding $4 million in Ramaphosa’s possession at the farm.

“Then, that Parliament and the acting President may institute a preliminary investigation into the entire matter with terms of reference that would include if [Sars] and the Reserve Bank had any knowledge of the matter.

“Such a preliminary investigation could be conducted by two or three retired Constitutional Court judges and their findings could be handed over to the National Prosecuting Authority [NPA] for further action,” he further said.

Tax compliance concerns

Meanwhile, Democratic Alliance (DA) leader John Steenhuisen wrote to Sars asking the institution to investigate the $4 million robbery.

“This incident has raised several concerns in the public domain relating to tax compliance in the transaction that led to the president acquiring $4 million in cash.

“It is therefore critical for Sars to probe this matter, to both determine if this amount was declared to Sars and if the transaction had tax implications, in terms of both the Income Tax Act and Tax Administration Act,” Steenhuisen said.

In a separate letter to the SARB as well, Steenhuisen said it was “essential” that the institution also conduct its own investigations.

ALSO READ: ANC refuses to be drawn into Ramaphosa, Fraser spat

“Considering that regulations and exchange controls by the SARB limit the amount of foreign exchange a person may hold, monitor illicit financial flows, and set requirements relating to the surrender of foreign currency, it is essential for both the maintenance of the rule of law and equality before the law that this matter is probed by the SARB,” the DA leader said.

“It is also required in terms of the Currency and Exchanges Act of 1933 and appropriate regulations in terms of the Act.

“Considering that the SARB has consistently enforced its regulations, having been applied to individuals trading in cryptocurrency, online gambling, and other relevant violations without fear or favour, it is essential that the SARB apply these regulations equally, and investigate all violations thereof, in the case of President Ramaphosa’s possession of the abovementioned sum,” he added.

Additional reporting by Faizel Patel and Thapelo Lekabe