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ANC spokesperson Pule Mabe. Picture: ANTONIO MUCHAVE
ANC spokesperson Pule Mabe. Picture: ANTONIO MUCHAVE

As debate surrounding the theft of millions of dollars at his Phala Phala farm swirls, President Cyril Ramaphosa is set to auction more Ankole cattle at his farm in Limpopo next weekend. 

The cattle from his Ntaba Nyoni farm will be on offer at the Phala Phala farm, where an alleged multimillion-dollar robbery took place in February 2020. 

According to the Facebook page of the Ankole Cattle Breeders’ Society of SA, the second auction will take place on Saturday, offering buyers two breeding bulls, mature cows with horns measuring about 1m, embryos and “semen straws from top bulls”, among other things. 

More than 200 lots will be on offer, with Ankole from at least 15 guest sellers. 

“On Saturday June 18 is the second National Ankole Auction at Phala Phala, Limpopo, and it is one of the best Ankole offerings yet. Some of the top Ankole in the industry will be on offer as well as their offspring and genetics. The standard from all sellers is high,” the website said. 

Ramaphosa is one of the biggest Ankole farmers in the country and his interest in the breed of long-horned cattle goes back almost two decades.  At his last auction in March his Ankole cattle sold for millions of rand.

Ramaphosa’s Ntaba Nyoni farm put 72 animals up for auction, including 16 prized Ankole cows. His brother-in-law, Patrice Motsepe, parted ways with R4.7m for four Ankole female cows. The most expensive cow cost him R2.1m.

Over the past six years demand for Ankole cattle in SA has risen steadily and breeders have been paying high prices for top bulls and cows. They are particularly popular among game breeders, who buy them as a tourist attraction and for hunting.

In his coffee-table book, Cattle of the Ages, Ramaphosa said his love for Ankole cattle runs deep and his operations are meant to fulfil his father’s legacy and instil a new pride among South Africans in this remarkable breed.

“They each had long, white, beautiful horns glinting in the African sun, and I suddenly became fixated and couldn’t stop looking at them. I was intrigued and in awe and fell in love with these creatures immediately,” Ramaphosa wrote. 

The debate surrounding the theft of US$4m — the president said it was much less — continued to dominate coverage in the media on Thursday.

Former State Security Agency boss Arthur Fraser laid a criminal complaint against Ramaphosa last week, implying the president concealed the crime from authorities. Ramaphosa has denied any involvement in criminal activity.

The revelation sparked calls from political parties, including the UDM and EFF, for Ramaphosa to step aside immediately. 

Speaking to SABC News on Thursday, ANC spokesperson Pule Mabe said the party had full confidence in Ramaphosa. He said the step-aside rule is implemented when members are summoned to appear in a court of law and have been charged with serious crimes. 

“You step aside when you are indicted to appear in a court of law and have been charged with serious crimes. As matters stand, President Cyril Ramaphosa has not been charged with any crime,” Mabe said.

“Simply going to a police station and opening a case does not mean that people are charged. Investigations must be undertaken and the police must then be convinced that there are prospects of success. So those who are coming out to say the president must step aside ... the president of the ANC is not criminally charged,” he said.

Mabe said the ruling party has not discussed the matter of Ramaphosa stepping aside because it is allowing law enforcement agencies to “process the matter”.

Addressing MPs on Wednesday, deputy president David Mabuza urged South Africans to allow law enforcement agencies to investigate the allegations. 

“The issues around the farm robbery at the president’s place, I think that has been reported to the police and I take it that we should allow the respective law enforcement agencies to investigate without our interference and make their investigation known,” he said.

“If they want to charge the president, they will do so at the proper time. I think we should allow that process to unfold.”

Ramaphosa’s spokesperson, Vincent Magwenya, said the president will co-operate with any law enforcement investigation into the allegations. 

“On being advised of the robbery, President Ramaphosa reported the incident to the head of the Presidential Protection Unit of the SAPS for investigation.

“President Ramaphosa stands ready to co-operate with any law- enforcement investigation of these matters,” Magwenya said. 



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