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By Faizel Patel

Senior Digital Journalist

WATCH: Alleged Phala Phala mastermind Imanuwela David denied bail

Magistrate Predeshni Ponnan handed down judgment in the Bela Bela Magistrate's Court in Limpopo on Friday.

Imanuwela David, the alleged mastermind behind the burglary at President Cyril Ramaphosa’s Phala Phala game farm has been denied bail.

Magistrate Predeshni Ponnan handed down judgment in the Bela Bela Magistrate’s Court in Limpopo on Friday.

Watch Magistrate Predeshni Ponnan hand down judgment


Ponnan said it was clear from the evidence by both the state and the defence that David intentionally and knowingly flouted the laws of not only South Africa, but Namibia as well by contravening the Covid-19 regulations and fleeing the country “through illegal means”.

“The conduct of accused number one is indicative of the fact that he possesses the propensity to commit further crimes as well as evading his trial.

“This state clearly illustrated to this court that accused number one’s testimony was rife with inconsistencies and that he intentionally set out to deceive and confuse the investigating officer and this court,” Ponnan said.

Interfering and tampering

Ponnan added that David had no fixed address that could be verified with certainty and he further misled the court he had movable or immovable property.

She said the court looked at the nature of the crimes committed, the large amount of monies that have been stolen and that the investigation is still ongoing and still largely revolves around David as well as two further suspects that have yet to be apprehended.

“There is a strong possibility that accused number one, should he be released on bail, may tamper or interfere with the investigation, or the state witnesses or destroy or conceal any evidence against him.

Bail denied

“From the aforementioned principles enshrined in the Criminal Procedure Act 51 of 1977, it is very clear that accused number one has not satisfied this court, that the interests of justice permit his release from custody, bail is accordingly denied,” Ponnan ruled.

Earlier, in mitigation of bail, David’s lawyer Mike Mokgobu argued there was no evidence that his client ever attempted to evade trial or influence witnesses when he was previously arrested.

David has a driving under the influence (DUI) conviction and was once detained in Namibia for six-months for entering the country illegally.

National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) spokesperson Mashudu Malabi-Dzhangi said the state had a strong case against David.

Other suspects

Two other suspects linked to the burglary, Froliana Joseph and her brother Ndilinasho David Joseph, were released on R5 000 and R10 000 bail respectively last month.

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.

ALSO READ: Two Phala Phala game farm robbery accused granted bail


David and Froliana were arrested last 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 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: Cellphone tech used to link Imanuwela David to Phala Phala burglary, court hears

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