Aaron Motsoaledi's Home Affairs refuses to disclose the nationality of 4 other Phala Phala farmgate thieves


Opposition parties have described Minister Aaron Motsoaledi's Department of Home Affairs’ refusal to disclose alleged Farmgate mastermind Immanuela David’s nationality as suspicious.

After months of keeping mum, Home Affairs spokesperson, Siya Qoza finally responded to requests for comment on reports that David was the only South African among the gang of five suspects who allegedly broke in President Cyril Ramaphosa’s Phala Phala farm before stealing about $4m concealed in furniture.

The men, who are believed to have spent their loot on luxury cars and jewellery in Cape Town, were apparently tipped-off about the money by Ramaphosa’s domestic worker. David was arrested in an upmarket Namibian hotel a day after he had entered that country illegally.

A probe by Namibian officials revealed that he was a South African citizen and had apparently worked for the South African Defence Force.

However the military has denied that David was ever employed by them. He is believed to have followed his Namibian father to South Africa around 2005.

After initially ducking and diving on questions around David’s citizenship, Qoza told the Cape Times this week that: “Laws governing the distribution of private and personal information to third parties make us unable to respond to your query without the written consent of the person you are enquiring about.”

However Al Jama-ah president and a member of the Parliament’s Home Affairs portfolio committee Ganief Hendricks said the department should reconsider its position, in a bid to rule out corruption.

“In my view the member of parliament should relook at the refusal to disclose whether he (David) is South African or not. So many immigrants are here without documentation. In the cases of the Guptas and prophet Bushiri, they were quite willing to share information. I understand they have been dealing with lots of acts of corruption and disciplined people they could finger. They should continue the process so they can clean up corruption in the Department of Home Affairs. I don't see a reason why they would not share the information. There must be a hidden agenda.”

Cope MP, Mosiuoa Lekota, also a member of the committee, said the department’s refusal was “suspicious”.

“I must be very honest. I know of no reason why Home Affairs should deny the public knowledge on what you are enquiring about. I would imagine this would only happen in the case of somebody who has a job that requires them not to disclose information about themselves.”

Western Cape Local and Immigrant Collective Initiative convenor, Isaiah Mombilo added: “Home Affairs does not disclose any information according to their policy. When they want to make a statement that they stand against something or they want to expose corrupt officials, they can have constitutional support to raise a case about the corruption or crime. In the case of Bushiri the matter was in court. That’s why they engaged in that.”

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