East Africa

Former spy boss lays criminal charges against Ramaphosa


Summary

  • Former State Security Agency (SSA) Director-General, Arthur Fraser, laid charges of theft and kidnapping against Ramaphosa.
  • The South African president has responded by denying of any criminality on his part, saying the matter was reported to police at the time.
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By CHRIS ERASMUS


In what appears to be a carefully-timed attack on South African President Cyril Ramaphosa’s bid for a second term as head of the ruling African National Congress (ANC), and also of the country, the former administrative head of the country’s spy agency has laid a litany of criminal complaints against Ramaphosa.

Former State Security Agency (SSA) Director-General, Arthur Fraser, laid charges of theft and kidnapping against Ramaphosa late Wednesday (June 1, 2022).

The South African president has responded by denying of any criminality on his part, saying the matter was reported to police at the time.

Fraser’s appointment to the top administrative spy agency job was made by former president Jacob Zuma. He has been cited as allegedly part of the wider ‘state capture’ effort to take control of government agencies and entities for private gain.

Zuma release

Fraser was fired by Ramaphosa as spy boss and moved to another government department, Correctional Services, where he took the decision last year, also highly controversial, to allow early release of Zuma from jail on medical parole, going against the advice of the medical parole board meant to make such decisions.

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Zuma had been sentenced to jail by the Constitutional Court in July for contempt of that court’s orders, triggering widespread riotous conduct, looting and arson, mainly occurring in Zuma’s homeland province of KwaZulu-Natal, taking some 337 lives and leaving a multi-billion-dollar wake of destruction.

Accusations

The timing of the charges laid by Fraser against Ramaphosa, which bizarrely includes a claim that Ramaphosa somehow ‘stole’ several million dollars from his own farm, is suspicious, coming on the same day that a near 10-year-long civil court saga, involving claims by families of ‘massacred’ protesting miners killed by police at Marikana in August 2012, began.

In that long-running matter, Ramaphosa – then an executive of the mining house whose striking miners were protesting, some violently, at Marikana, in S Africa’s North West province, near Rustenburg and about 120km from Johannesburg – is claimed to be the ultimate person responsible.

Some 360 ‘affected parties’ are involved in that action wherein the survivors and family members of the 34 miners killed are demanding an apology from Ramaphosa, who sent an email the day prior to the shootings in which he called some miners’ actions “criminal”, there having been violent incidents, and called for action.

Fraser’s allegations appeared timed to coincide with that case finally coming to court – and seems likely to be part of the outplaying of factionalism in the ruling ANC in terms of which moves are now underway by Zuma-aligned elements in the party to oust Ramaphosa from the top job in December, when the ANC meets for its five-yearly leadership elective conference.

Last week Fraser laid charges of perjury against a Ramaphosa-appointed probe of the State Security Agency while under Fraser’s administrative leadership, with Chief Justice Raymond Zondo’s imminent final report on his three-year-long state capture inquiry almost certain to name Fraser as a key player in the ‘capture’ and ‘neutralisation’ of the SSA in the Zuma era.

In his charges against Ramaphosa, Fraser said that Ramaphosa had “covered up” the theft of US$4 million from his farm, Phala, in the Waterberg district of Limpopo province near the border with Zimbabwe, and had paid people off in that “cover-up”.

Fraser adds that the S African President was also guilty of defeating the ends of justice, and of kidnapping suspects who were allegedly interrogated on his farm.

In a media statement, Fraser asserts that he laid formal criminal charges against Ramaphosa at Rosebank police station in Johannesburg yesterday (Wednesday, June 1), adding that he handed over to police supporting documents, including photographs, bank accounts and video footage.

“Today I have taken the unprecedented step to lay charges against his excellency of the Republic of South Africa, Matamela Cyril Ramaphosa. The details of the charges and supporting evidence including photographs, bank accounts, video footage and names are contained in my statement,” said Fraser.

“The charges emanate from the theft of millions of US dollars (in excess of 4 million dollars) concealed within the premises of the president’s Phala farm in Waterberg, Limpopo, by criminals who were colluding with his (Ramaphosa’s) domestic worker.

“They (the charges laid) also include defeating the ends of justice, kidnapping of suspects, their interrogation on his property and bribery. The president concealed the crime from (police) and (the state tax collector) and thereafter paid the culprits for their silence,” Fraser adds.

A police spokesman confirmed that a criminal case had been opened against Ramaphosa, who today has dismissed Fraser’s claims of criminal conduct, confirming that there had been a robbery on his Limpopo farm in February 2020 involving the theft of monies from the sale of game, and that this was reported to the head of the Presidential Protection Unit, a unit within the SA Police Services.

Farm burglary

Fraser said in his statement that the burglary at Ramaphosa’s farm took place on February 9, 2020, adding that Ramaphosa’s conduct, and that of others involved, “constitute the breach” of S Africa’s laws designed meant to combat mafia-like organised criminality.

“I trust that the police and the prosecuting authorities will investigate this matter without fear or favour. I also trust that the president will take the nation into his confidence and accept or deny that the events described in my affidavit occurred on his property,” said Fraser.

A police spokesman confirmed that a criminal case has been opened against Ramaphosa.

Fraser last week gave the National Prosecuting Authority seven days to respond to his demand that head of a Ramaphosa-appointed probe of the State Security Agency, which was damning of Fraser, be charged with perjury.

That move was seen in legal circles as a pre-emptive effort to head off the likely further damning findings of Justice Zondo regarding S Africa’s security agency where slush funds were, according to testimony before Zondo, routinely abused for personal gain by agency operatives, monies wasted, and the political imperatives of high-profile persons, these including Zuma and those aligned with him, becoming the agency’s priority, rather than national security, with many other alleged abuses also occurring.

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