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Dubai businessman didn't know Ramaphosa owned Phala Phala buffalo he bought - report

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Dubai businessman didn't know Ramaphosa owned Phala Phala buffalo he bought - report

Image of President Cyril Ramaphosa
President Cyril Ramaphosa

6th December 2022

By: News24Wire

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A Dubai businessman who reportedly bought 20 buffaloes from President Cyril Ramaphosa's Phala Phala farm claims that he didn't know the deal with was with the president, according to a report.

Sky News reported that Hazim Mustafa, who reportedly paid $580 000 (R10-million) in cash for the 20 buffaloes from Ramaphosa's farm in December 2019, said initially he didn't know who the animals belonged to.

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A panel headed by former chief justice Sandile Ngcobo released a report last week after conducting a probe into allegations of a cover-up of a theft at the farm in February 2020.

The panel found that there was a case for Ramaphosa to answer and that he may have violated the law and involved himself in a conflict between his official duties and his private business.

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In a statement to the panel, Mustafa was identified as the source of the more than $500 000 (R9 million) that was stolen from the farm. Among the evidence was a receipt for $580 000 that a Phala Phala employee had written to "Mr Hazim".

According to Sky News, Mustafa said he celebrated Christmas and his wife's birthday in Limpopo in 2019, and that he dealt with a broker when he bought the animals.

He reportedly said the animals were to be prepared for export, but they were never delivered due to the Covid-19 lockdown. He understood he would be refunded after the delays.

He also reportedly brought the cash into the country through OR Tambo International Airport and said he declared it. Mustafa also told Sky News that the amount was "nothing for a businessman like [him]".

The businessman is the owner Sudanese football club Al Merrikh SC. He is married to Bianca O'Donoghue, who hails from KwaZulu-Natal.

O'Donoghue regularly takes to social media to post snaps of a life of wealth – including several pictures in designer labels and next to a purple Rolls Royce Cullinan, a luxury SUV worth approximately R5.5 million.

News24 previously reported that he also had ties to former Sudanese president, Omar al-Bashir.

There have been calls for Ramaphosa to step down following the saga. A motion of no confidence is expected to be submitted in Parliament.

He denied any wrongdoing and said the ANC's national executive committee (NEC) would decide his fate.

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