South Africa

Alleged Phala Phala mastermind claimed to be a SANDF member in court

The alleged mastermind behind the robbery at President Cyril Ramaphosa’s Phala Phala farm told a Namibian court that he is a Johannesburg-based property developer. Imanuwela David also claimed to have served in the South African National Defence Force (SANDF).

DAVID MAKES CLAIMS IN COURT

According to The Namibian, David’s claims in the Noordoewer Magistrate’s Court were revealed in the Namibian National Assembly by the Minister of Home Affairs, Immigration, Safety and Security, Albert Kawana, on Thursday, 23 June.

According to the transcript, David told the court that he was a property developer in Johannesburg and that he served in SANDF as a peacekeeper in Abu Dhabi, Iraq, Mali and Libya.

A Sunday Times investigative report points out that the South African military has never conducted peacekeeping operations in any of these countries.

David appeared in court for entering Namibia illegally on 12 June 2020. He allegedly crossed the Orange River in a canoe near the Vioolsdrif border. Cross-border travel between the neighbouring countries was banned due to COVID-19 at the time.

The charge sheet also alleges that the accused failed to declare goods on his person or in his possession when he entered the country. He reportedly had $1000 in cash, a Tag Heuer watch, a Rolex watch and a necklace. Altogether, the items were worth about R488 000.

David pleaded guilty to the immigration and customs offences and paid a R20 000 fine.

The court transcript revealed that the accused is the father of three children – aged 12, eight and three and that he matriculated in 2002.

According to Sunday Times, the accused allegedly bribed former National Fishing Corporation of Namibia (Fishcor) CEO Paulus Ngalangi and a police sergeant – Hendrik Nghede – to help him enter the country illegally.

Both Ngalangi and Nghede pleaded not guilty and their trial is expected to resume in July.

SA, NAMIBIA CONTRADICT EACH OTHER OVER PHALA PHALA

David was accused of allegedly stealing $4 million from Ramaphosa’s Phala Phala farm, along with Urbanus Shaumbwako, Petrus Muhekeni, Erkki Shikongo, and Petrus Afrikaner.

David and company are yet to be arrested for the alleged robbery, which has been confirmed by Ramaphosa himself.

The South African and Namibian governments have been at odds since the scandal broke. According to The Namibian, the country’s justice ministry said it sent a request for assistance to its South African counterparts.

“We even have the receipt from DHL that they got it,” said Namibian Justice Ministry spokesperson, Simon Idipo on Wednesday.

The South African Department of Justice, however, denies these claims. “We can categorically state that, to date, there is no official record of this specific request,” said South African Ministry of Justice spokesperson, Chrispin Phiri, on 21 June.

READ: Diplomatic row: SA govt REJECTS Namibia’s ‘Ramaphosa robbery’ claims

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