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Cyril risks losing citizens’ trust if he does not come clean

President Cyril Ramaphosa
President Cyril Ramaphosa
Image: ESA ALEXANDER

In the wake of revelations about a bizarre robbery at the Limpopo farm of President Cyril Ramaphosa, political interaction in parliament and beyond is unlikely to be staid, with opposition parties determined to pursue the chase and factions in the ANC keen to exploit the situation.

And the drama is unlikely to end soon, not least because the president is being remarkably circumspect, leaving the way clear for rumours to grow.

What we know so far is thanks to former spy chief Arthur Fraser, who laid charges against Ramaphosa relating to this matter, and to footage said to be of the robbery which was subsequently released by the EFF.

That Fraser has an axe to grind is obvious. The timing of his revelations is designed to damage Ramaphosa ahead of the ANC’s policy and elective conferences. However, this does not mean Fraser’s allegations are necessarily fabricated.

It seems decidedly curious that the president has been hoarding cash in foreign currency (the exact amount is unclear but the amounts that have been mentioned are extraordinary) on his barely secured farm. This money was apparently the proceeds of a cash purchase of game by an as yet unidentified buyer.

That the robbery was only reported to head of presidential security Wally Rhoode is not illegal. However, it certainly suggests the crime was hushed up, possibly for security reasons but possibly to keep the details of Ramaphosa’s game business out of the public eye.

Fraser claims Rhoode led an investigation that included entering and leaving Namibia undercover and illegally interrogating the suspected thieves who were later paid money to remain silent. The alleged mastermind, a domestic worker at the farm, reportedly still works there.

This is even more curious and is highly damaging to the president’s reputation so why does he not speak up?

We need to know whether the president broke the laws he is sworn to uphold.

It is not good enough to tell ANC members that he has never stolen; Ramaphosa is not accused of this. He also can’t hide behind nonsensical sub judice claims while the police investigate.

Ramaphosa has often enough addressed his fellow South Africans and now is the time to take the nation into his confidence. We need to know whether the relevant authorities were notified of his forex transactions; whether the transaction/s were declared to SARS; whether there was a vigilante operation and whether the president knew about this, and whether the suspects were bribed.

We need to know whether the president broke the laws he is sworn to uphold.

Until we hear the truth, Ramaphosa may well survive in the fractured ANC but he will not be able to command citizens’ respect, let alone trust.

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