Hawks chase more suspects linked to theft at Phala Phala farm

The Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation (Hawks) is on the hunt for two more suspects who allegedly took part in a theft at President Cyril Ramaphosa’s game farm.

The group allegedly stole undeclared stash of American dollars hidden under couches and mattresses at the president’s Phala Phala farm in Limpopo on February 9 2020.

Hawks national head Lieutenant-General Godfrey Lebeya said police are struggling to apprehend the wanted suspects because they are not in South Africa.

“We have already taken two matters to court where three individuals are arrested. We are pursing the other two [individuals],” said Lebeya.

“We will be able to communicate when we get hold of them. They are not in the country, which is why it is not easy to be able to get hold of them like we did with the others.”

Lebeya was responding to a question during a media briefing on Thursday on whether there is enough evidence for Ramaphosa and head of the presidential protection unit, Major-General Wally Rhoode, to be arrested and prosecuted for theft at Phala Phala.

He said the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) is “still applying its mind” on whether more people should be arrested and prosecuted.

“The matter is sitting with the NPA and they are applying their mind and they will make a decision on that matter.

“The NPA has also required of our investigation certain things and once that is done, we will be able to take everything to the NPA for a decision.

“So, we are not going to go into details on these matters under investigation.

“One matter [of three suspects arrested] is on the court roll and the other matter is of the two individuals outstanding.”

Lebeya was speaking at the GCIS head offices in Pretoria where he outlined the milestones achieved by the Hawks between July and September 2023. 

Trio arrested for theft

Two weeks ago, the Hawks arrested Froliana Joseph and her brother Ndilishano David Joseph, as well as the alleged mastermind of the farm theft, Imanuwela David.

Froliana and Ndilishano face charges of theft, housebreaking with intent to steal, conspiracy to commit robbery and conspiracy to commit housebreaking with intent to steal, while Imanuwela David also faces an additional charge of money-laundering.

Last week, Froliana and Ndilishano were granted R5 000 and R10 000 bail, respectively by the Bela Bela magistrate’s court and the case was postponed to December 6 for further investigations and for Imanuwela David to submit a formal bail application.

Prosecutor Nkhetheni Munyai said at the time that the state did not oppose the release of the Joseph siblings on bail because they are not a flight risk, even though they have a strong Namibian connection, where their parents are originally from.

However, Munyai said the state intends to oppose Imanuwela David’s bail application.

Former State Security Agency boss Arthur Fraser blew the whistle on the Phala Phala farm theft when he opened a criminal case against Ramaphosa and Rhoode at the Rosebank police station in June 2022.

In his affidavit, Fraser states that it was Floriana who discovered the money stashed at the president’s farm house. According to Fraser, Floriana informed Ndilishano about the money.

Fraser added that it was Ndilishano who allegedly informed the thieves that there was an estimated $4-million (R75-million at current rand/dollar exchange rate) to $8-million left unguarded and concealed in furniture at the presidents farm.


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