- President Cyril Ramaphosa did not report the foreign exchange transaction that was the source of the US dollars stolen from his farm to the SA Reserve Bank
- The president's legal advisors have until 8 September to provide information to the central bank, so it can properly investigate the incident.
- On Tuesday, Ramphosa faced a chaotic and humiliating question session in Parliament where for several hours he declined to answer questions on Phala Phala, citing legal advice.
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President Cyril Ramaphosa did not report the foreign
exchange transaction that was the source of the US dollars stolen from his
farm, as required by law, his response to the SA Reserve Bank (SARB) indicates.
Ramaphosa also has yet to respond adequately to the central bank, which has written to his lawyers asking for details of the transaction.
In a letter to Parliament's Standing Committee on Finance on Tuesday the governor of the Reserve Bank Lesetja Kganyago said following press reports about the robbery its Financial Surveillance Department had written to Ramaphosa's legal advisors on 20 June requesting "information and details regarding the origin of the foreign currency and any underlying transaction that may pertain to it."
The bank had initially given Ramaphosa 21 business days to respond to the letter and subsequently granted an extension of 15 working days.
The letter states:
Kganyago's letter to the committee follows letters written to it by two of the committee members EFF deputy leader Floyd Shivambu and the DA MP Dion George.
The SARB administers SA's exchange control regulations and investigates contraventions. Under the regulations, all foreign currency transactions must be reported to the bank within 30 days. Kganyago's letter requesting information confirms that Ramaphosa did not report the transaction as required by law.
Ramaphosa has previously said that the cash stolen from his farm Phala Phala was the proceeds of the sale of animals. The theft first came to light in June when former spy boss Arthur Fraser declared in an affidavit lodged with the police that at least $4 million, which had been concealed in furniture, was stolen from the farm. Ramaphosa has said the amount was nowhere near as large but has not provided any information on the sum.
On Tuesday, Ramphosa faced a chaotic and humiliating question session in Parliament where for several hours he declined to answer questions on Phala Phala, citing legal advice. While opposition MPs from the EFF, African Transformation Movement and DA demanded answers, ANC MPs argued that Ramaphosa's refusal to answer constituted "a response" which was all that was required in terms of the rules. The sitting was eventually adjourned.
On social media Ramaphosa supporters defended the President arguing that it was not Ramaphosa's responsibility to oversee the day-to-day running of the farm. Shivambu said that Kganyago's letter was proof that Ramaphosa was already guilty of at least one crime, in failing to report the transaction.
DA leader John Steenhuisen described Ramaphosa's failure to answer as "Nkandla 2.0" reminiscent of the former President Jacob Zuma's refusal to answer questions on the upgrades to his home, while MPs rallied around him to defend him.