PODCAST | The Story: Ramaphosa facing mounting pressure over Phala Phala scandal

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President Cyril Ramaphosa is facing mounting pressure as more details about the 2020 burglary at his Phala Phala farm have emerged.
President Cyril Ramaphosa is facing mounting pressure as more details about the 2020 burglary at his Phala Phala farm have emerged.
  • A News24 investigation revealed that close to $600 000 (or roughly R9 million) in cash was stolen in the 2020 burglary.
  • This is far less than the $4 million initially believed to have been taken.
  • News24's investigative journalist Kyle Cowan also uncovered that the man who bought the buffalo was from Dubai.

News24 has uncovered new details of the 2020 burglary at president Cyril Ramaphosa's Phala Phala farm.

Almost $600 000 in cash was taken. The amount was paid to Ramaphosa's farm manager for the sale of one buffalo. The buyer was from Dubai.

This week on The Story, we talk to News24 investigative journalist Kyle Cowan who broke the story, and political analyst Ongama Mtimka.

Cowan said the amount paid for the buffalo was "not an outlandish price for the right kind of buffalo", and he believes the new details are starting to "inject a sense of proportion and facts into this whole story around this burglary".

However, he said the scandal was "severely embarrassing for the president", politically, and that his enemies would "try and get as much mileage out of this as they can".

Cowan said there were numerous investigations underway, and "each one of them poses their own danger".

EXCLUSIVE | Phala Phala theft: The Dubai buyer, a buffalo and the stolen $600 000 

"If any information crops up in any of these probes that the president knew about the transaction or he was somehow aware that the money was coming from a dubious source, it can be politically and even criminally very damaging for him," he added. 

Mtimka believes Ramaphosa should, as part of a political strategy, not return to office for a second term, "but rather position a successor who has a lot more runway, in terms of building the party into the future, than he may have".

He said the challenge for South Africa was that we have "dropped the bar so low when it comes to expectations of politicians on a moral and ethical basis to the extent that politicians hide behind legality and judicial processes in order to determine whether or not they fall on their swords".

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