South Africa: Money Talks – What the SA Reserve Bank Report Had to Say About the Phala Phala Couch Cash

Two suspects are facing criminal charges for their alleged role in the theft of $580,000 from President Cyril Ramaphosa’s Phala Phala farm in February 2020. But where did the money come from and why was it never declared? According to the South African Reserve Bank’s report, it wasn’t Ramaphosa’s money to start with.

Throughout the Phala Phala scandal, President Cyril Ramaphosa has been called upon to account for his actions before several institutional bodies, including Parliament and the Public Protector. The theft of a large sum of undeclared US dollars from his Limpopo farm, and the subsequent off-the-books investigation to find those responsible, brought his conduct under scrutiny.

When the South African Reserve Bank (Sarb) launched its investigation of the circumstances surrounding the stolen money in June 2022, its main objective was to determine whether the President had contravened Exchange Control Regulation 6(1), which states:

“Every person resident in the Republic who becomes entitled to sell or to procure the sale of any foreign currency, shall within thirty days after becoming so entitled, make or cause to be made, a declaration in writing of such foreign currency to the Treasury or to an authorised dealer.”

The decision to investigate was prompted by complaints sent to Sarb by various groups, including the DA, the EFF and Parliament’s Standing Committee on Finance.

These were based on the criminal complaint that former head of the State Security Agency (SSA) Arthur Fraser filed against Ramaphosa in relation to the theft. Among the allegations in Fraser’s affidavit…

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