Undisclosed reasons: State will oppose bail for one of three accused in R10 million Phala Phala theft

Siblings Ndilishano and Froliana Joseph, and their co-accused Imanuwela David in the Bela-Bela Magistrate’s Court during a previous appearance. File Picture: Oupa Mokoena / Independent Newspapers

Siblings Ndilishano and Froliana Joseph, and their co-accused Imanuwela David in the Bela-Bela Magistrate’s Court during a previous appearance. File Picture: Oupa Mokoena / Independent Newspapers

Published Nov 17, 2023


Two of the three people who were arrested in connection with the theft at President Cyril Ramaphosa’s Phala Phala wildlife reserve in Limpopo were released on bail on Friday.

The trio — Froliana Joseph, who was a domestic worker at the Phala Phala farm — appeared alongside her brother, Ndilinasho Joseph, and alleged accomplice, Imanuwela David.

The siblings, Froliana and Ndilinasho, were released on bail. The State did not oppose bail, and it was set at R5,000 for Froliana and R10,000 for Ndilinasho.

Their stringent bail conditions include that they hand over their passports, and they will not leave the Bela-Bela area without informing the police.

However, accused number one, David, will remain in custody until December 6, when he will launch a formal bail application.

Limpopo spokesperson for the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA), Mashudu Malabi-Dzhangi, said in David’s case, the bail application will be opposed for reasons that cannot be disclosed at this stage.

“We cannot disclose the information at this stage. The public will hear the reason (for opposing bail on David) during the bail hearing, because it will harm our case,” Malabi-Dzhangi spoke to broadcaster Newzroom Afrika in court.

“On December 6, we are prepared to oppose the bail (application). We are prepared to take our witness to the stand in order to oppose that bail hearing of accused number one (David).”

Malabi-Dzhangi said the Joseph siblings have surrendered their passports.

She said the NPA has “a strong case” against the three accused people.

Limpopo Magistrate Predeshni Poonan is presiding over the case of the three suspects, who are facing several charges in connection with the theft of $580,000 (around R10.87 million) on February 9, 2020, at the president’s farmhouse.

Magistrate Predeshni Poonan in the Bela-Bela Magistrate’s Court. Picture: Oupa Mokoena / Independent Newspapers

Last week, David’s legal representative, Koena Matlala, could not make it to the court, according to senior State advocate Nkhetheni Gerald Munyai.

At the time, Matlala indicated that David’s bail application would be filed at the next court appearance, on November 17. On Friday, it emerged that the bail application for David was deferred until December 6.

The trio is charged with conspiracy to commit housebreaking with intent to steal and theft, housebreaking with intent to steal, theft, and money laundering.

Froliana and Imanuwela were arrested earlier last week, while Ndilinasho handed himself over to the police days later.

Froliana denied any involvement and requested that the court take into account the period that she had already spent behind bars and the interests of her minor child.

Her brother, who is accused number three, also denied any involvement while pressuring for bail, saying the State’s case was questionable.

The stash of money was allegedly hidden in furniture, as stated by former head of the State Security Agency, Arthur Fraser, who blew the lid on the whole matter. This led to, among others, allegations of tax evasion against Ramaphosa, but was later cleared by institutions including the SA Revenue Service (Sars).

The money is said to be proceeds from the sale of buffalo herds to Sudanese businessman Hazim Mustafa. Froliana Joseph, employed as a cleaner at the lodge, is accused of discovering the concealed cash and informing her accomplices, leading to the burglary.

At least $580,000 (around R10.87 million) was stolen from President Cyril Ramaphosa’s house in Limpopo on February 9, 2020. File Picture

Last week, after months of investigations that have spanned various tiers of the State, from the Public Protector to the SA Reserve Bank (SARB), the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation (also known as the Hawks) finally charged the Joseph siblings and Imanuwela David for the burglary.