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By Faizel Patel

Senior Digital Journalist

Cellphone tech used to link Imanuwela David to Phala Phala burglary, court hears

Magistrate Predeshni Ponnan is expected to make a judgment in the bail application on Friday.

The Bela Bela Magistrate’s Court in Limpopo has heard cellphone technology was used to link Imanuwela David to the robbery at President Cyril Ramaphosa’s Phala Phala Game Farm in Limpopo and another farm opposite.

David’s bail application wrapped up in court on Thursday.

David, along with his two co-accused, siblings Froliana and David Joseph, are charged with housebreaking and the theft of $580 000 (about R10.6 million at the time) from Ramaphosa‘s game farm in February 2020.

National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) spokesperson Mashudu Malabi-Dzhangi said Magistrate Predeshni Ponnan is expected to make a judgment in the application on Friday.

The State has opposed the release of the 39-year-old alleged mastermind behind the burglary.

ALSO READ: Alleged Phala Phala mastermind intends to plead not guilty

Flight risk

During Thursday’s proceedings, the investigation team, led by Lieutenant-Colonel Ludi Schnelle of the Serious Corruption Unit of the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation (the Hawks), said in addition to the cellphone data, David also paid an unnamed transporter $30 000 in cash (about R500 000), to drive him from Rustenburg to Kempton Park to a car dealer.

He said David bought vehicles using US currency.

Schnelle also testified that they were unable to verify David’s residential address, stating that this would make it easy for him to evade trial.

He said there is a high likelihood that if David is released on bail, he will flee South Africa, influence witnesses and do everything in his power to derail the police investigations by hiding his proceeds of crime.


Schnelle also said the FNB bank accounts used by David after the burglary have been closed and the bank assigned him status of “undesirable client.”

He requested that the court deny David bail.

David and Froliana Joseph were arrested earlier this month, while 27-year-old Ndilinasho David Joseph, the brother of Froliana, a former employee at the game farm handed himself over to police.

The Phala Phala theft came to light when former State Security Agency boss, Arthur Fraser, opened a case of kidnapping and money laundering against Ramaphosa, the head of the Presidential Protection Services Major-General Wally Rhoode and Crime Intelligence.

ALSO READ: Hawks looking for two more in connection with Phala Phala robbery

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