National News/06 March 2023,12:34pm/ Staff Writer
Sudanese businessman Hazim Mustafa with his South African-born wife, Bianca O’Donoghue: image supplied
By Staff Writer: South African Revenue Services, were not able to find any record that Hazim Mustafa, the Sudanese businessman who paid $580 000 in cash to President Cyril Ramaphosa’s Phala Phala farm, declared the cash he brought into the country in December 2019.
DA leader John Steenhuisen filed a Promotion of Access to Information Act (PAIA) request with the South African Revenue Service (SARS) in December 2022.
Steenhuisen asked for a copy of the declaration form after Mustafa produced a document that he showed journalists in an interview with Sky News, but would not hand it over.
On 5 March, SARS responded to Steenhuisen, stating that the tax service was satisfied that after it had taken reasonable steps to find the record, it concluded that the record either did not exist, or it could not be found.
In terms of PAIA, SARS also attached an affidavit by the responsible official, in this case legal specialist: corporate legal services Siyabonga Nkabinde, who had searched for the records.
“On or around 17 January 2023, I commenced engagements with relevant various business units within SARS that I believed may be in custody of and/or be in possession of and/or have knowledge of the record requested,” Nkabinde’s affidavit read.
“[I] was advised that pursuant to the search for the record in various SARS Passenger Processing Systems, the record could not be found and/or may not be in existence,” the affidavit continued.
Mustafa claimed the document was a copy of the declaration he completed upon landing at OR Tambo International Airport. Mustafa said he handed over $580 000 in cash to an employee of Ramaphosa’s Phala Phala farm on Christmas Day in 2019.
The money was handed to Sylvester Ndlovu who, Ramaphosa has claimed, moved the money out of a safe in the main building on the farm and stashed it under sofa cushions in the president’s house.
In the early hours of 9 February 2020, burglars gained access to the property and made off with an undisclosed amount of dollars.
The burglary was kept secret until July 2022, when former State Security Agency director-general Arthur Fraser reported a criminal case to Rosebank police station and accused Ramaphosa and his head of security, Major General Wally Rhoode, of a cover-up.
It was recently revealed that Ndlovu, who took the money from Mustafa, , was recently employed at a lodge part-owned by Fraser’s niece, Geraldine Moleketi-Williams.
Mustafa broke his silence in the wake of a report by a Section 89 panel appointed by Parliament and headed by retired chief justice Sandile Ngcobo.
The panel had to determine whether or not the president had a case to answer. Mustafa claimed that he had been in South Africa to look for a house to buy.
Instead, he ended up buying buffaloes that according to Ramaphosa had “undesirable breeding traits”.
However it was revealed that the buffaloes remained on the farm nearly two years after Mustafa handed over the cash.
The Ngcobo report was damning of Ramaphosa. The panel found that a full parliamentary investigation should proceed but the ANC used its majority in the National Assembly to quash any chance of a committee being established.
Meanwhile Ramaphosa was on the brink of resigning after the Ngcobo report was released. Last week, the Constitutional Court denied his application for direct access to the court to challenge the report.