Former South African police chief, Khehla Sitole, has made a stunning claim, accusing the current National Police Commissioner, Gen. Fannie Masemola, of failing to prevent a major theft at President Cyril Ramaphosa’s farm two years ago. In an exclusive interview with Sowetan, Sitole revealed that when it comes to a security breach on the president’s property, the law mandates two reports: one from the local police station and another from the presidential protection team. Furthermore, Sitole emphasized that Masemola was responsible for the day-to-day operations during the time of the incident, while he held the position of the country’s deputy commissioner.
Despite numerous attempts to reach out to Masemola for her side of the story, she remained silent. The theft of a significant amount of U.S. dollars from President Ramaphosa’s Phala Phala game farm in Limpopo two years ago has caused quite a commotion. Just yesterday, a scuffle erupted when President Ramaphosa attended a budget vote in parliament.
Adding to the intrigue, former correctional services commissioner and State Security Agency director Arthur Fraser recently filed a criminal case against Ramaphosa in Johannesburg, accusing the government of concealing the theft of millions of U.S. dollars on his property, sparking a storm of controversy. Fraser went further, alleging money laundering and hostage-taking on the president’s part.
When asked if he had any knowledge about the robbery, Sitole maintained that the answer lies within the reports. He explained that it was the presidential protection team’s duty to file a report concerning the theft, and this report was both necessary and highly confidential due to the sensitive nature of the information involved. He underscored that the law mandated the submission of such a report, particularly considering the president’s safety.
The report has been classified as top secret due to its relevance to the president’s security. Sitole clarified, I am well aware of the requirement for the head of protection and all protectors to report any security breaches to the appropriate authorities. This is a grave security matter, and reporting is essential.
Sitole avoided delving into the specifics of his own administration, mentioning that the late deputy national police commissioner, Lt. Gen. Sindile Mfazi, had close connections with the presidential protection unit and that Masemola oversaw ministerial security. If there was crucial information to convey, I would have engaged with the head of security.
Ramaphosa dismissed Sitole in February due to a strained relationship with Police Minister Bheki Cele and his perceived lack of cooperation in an investigation concerning the acquisition of the Grabber before the 2017 ANC conference. During the recent budget vote in parliament, the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) disrupted President Ramaphosa’s speech, accusing him of being involved in money laundering. Members of the EFF who refused to apologize for their comments were removed from parliament.
DA leader John Steenhuisen urged Ramaphosa to provide clarity on the missing funds from the game farm. He argued that it was hypocritical for Ramaphosa to doubt Fraser’s integrity after appointing him to a senior position in the prison system, indicating that significant state resources appeared to be used to conceal the crime.
In response to the situation, Pemmy Majodina, the top whip of the ANC, emphasized that the party had nothing to hide and was open to investigations. She added, Taking on a sitting president is never easy, but the ANC is committed to upholding the rule of law: if there is evidence of wrongdoing, the law must take its course.