Bathong, Cyril. 👀 Is shame in his vocab? The prez held a livestock auction at his now infamous Phala Phala Wildlife Game Reserve on Saturday, just two weeks after the country was alerted to the theft of millions of dollars in cash from the farm in 2020 – proceeds supposedly from the sale of livestock. On Saturday, Ramaphosa’s own lots fetched a paltry (for him) R2.37 million, paling in comparison to his sales of more than R10 million in March.
But his cattle sales are probably the least of his worries. #Farmgate, as it’s come to be known, is causing more trouble for Ramaphosa than a bull in a china shop. He has opted to stay mum, repeating his line about allowing due process to take place, rather than replying to Fraser’s bombshell that the president was allegedly party to the cover-up of the robbery of $4 million – in cash.
Fraser also alleged that the head of the presidential protection unit, Major-General Wally Rhoode hid the robbery, carried out illegal investigations, tortured suspects and then bribed them to stay silent. Fraser is a controversial figure who has plenty of political motivation to turn on Ramaphosa, and it’s not clear how much of that story may be fabricated. Although Ramaphosa confirmed the theft, he wouldn’t confirm the amount taken, and added that no laws were broken.
Still, the president is facing mounting criticism. As political analyst Justice Malala noted: “Patience is a commodity that Ramaphosa has asked for repeatedly from the South African public. The people’s patience, however, is not endless… He has to give something, and right now that something is truth, transparency and a bit of reassurance.”
Meanwhile, DA leader John Steenhuisen grabbed the bull by the horns and dropped a (rather lacklustre) bombshell of his own on Tuesday – although it seemed designed to appeal more to public outrage than common sense. As part of a nine-step plan to hold Ramaphosa to account, the blue party leader said he would approach the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) to look into the issue of stolen currency.
One problem: the FBI only has jurisdiction in the US. The DA says it’s because the matter involves US currency. But issues of money laundering fall under the purview of the US Secret Service, not the FBI. Perhaps Steenhuisen is watching too many movies. Next, he’ll be contacting The Avengers… 😆