While President Cyril Ramaphosa is under immense pressure to come clean about auction proceeds that were stolen from his game farm in Limpopo, Mzansi’s first citizen is set to host another auction on his game farm next week.
The auction, organised by the Ankole Society of South Africa, will take place on 18 June at Ramaphosa’s 4 500-hectare game farm situated some 43 km west of Bela-Bela in Limpopo.
Lauren James from the Ankole Society of South Africa confirmed to Food For Mzansi that they were expecting a number of potential buyers to attend. This, despite Ramaphosa having to fend off allegations that he covered up a robbery at his game farm.
James said that Ankole cattle belonging to the president’s Ntaba Nyoni farm would also be on offer at the online auction.
“Online auctions are there to accommodate potential buyers who cannot be at the live auction. These potential buyers then have the chance to purchase cattle online.
“As far as I know, mostly South African-based farmers are going to be participants,” she said.
This will be the second National Ankole Auction to be hosted on the president’s farm and is expected to be one of the best Ankole offerings yet. Top Ankole in the industry will be on offer at the online auction as well as their offspring and genetics.
At an auction in 2017, some of Ramaphosa’s Ankole cattle sold for as much as R520 000 each. Earlier, Ramaphosa’s five-year-old Ankole bull called Mufasa fetched R700 000.
Ramaphosa the farmer
Despite being a top political heavyweight, Ramaphosa is also known for his high interest in mining and farming.
In 2004 he made history when he brought the first Ankole genetics into South Africa.
This was after he had gained a love for the breed during one of his visits to Uganda but had been unable to bring live animals into Mzansi because of inadequate disease control measures in Uganda.
Ramaphosa then bought 43 cows, which were transferred from Uganda to an embryo station run by Embryo Plus in Kenya. There, the cows were artificially inseminated, the embryos flushed and sent to South Africa, where they were implanted into surrogate cows.
The Ankole Cattle Breeders Society of South Africa was formally established in February 2018 and boasted close to 1 000 registered cattle by the middle of 2019.
The president-cum-farmer’s Phala Phala wildlife farm is also home to impressive wildlife. These include buffalo, white impala, black impala, roan antelope, black kudu, Livingstone eland and saddleback impala, to name a few.
The farm is also a member of Stud Game Breeders, an elite group of six game breeders synonymous with top-quality rare species.
Pressure on statesman
Meanwhile, Ramaphosa has denied any wrongdoing or defeating the ends of justice by not reporting the robbery of allegedly more than $4 million from the Phala Phala farm.
The theft and alleged cover-up was revealed by former spy boss Arthur Fraser when he laid criminal charges against Ramaphosa last week. Fraser, a politically entangled figure himself, is accusing Ramaphosa of concealing the theft which occurred in February 2020.
Addressing his party delegates in Limpopo last week, Ramaphosa said that he was in the business of farming, and that he was buying and selling cattle. “The money that is being spoken about is far less. Some are casting aspersions about me and money. I want to assure you that all this is money from proceeds from selling animals.
“I have never stolen money from anywhere, be it from our taxpayers, be it from anyone. My integrity as a leader will never allow me to do so,” he said.
Political parties represented in Parliament have called for Ramaphosa to step down and to address the allegations levelled against him.
On Wednesday Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane said in a statement that her office had received a complaint against Ramaphosa for breaching the executive code of ethics.
“Investigations concerning Mr Vuyo Zungula’s complaint have commenced, with allegation letters already written to sources of information, including President Ramaphosa,” the statement read.
Sign up for Mzansi Today: Your daily take on the news and happenings from the agriculture value chain.