Weird, weird coup plot

The Hawks’ ar­rest of a man they claim as a would-be as­sas­sin rings any­thing but true

CityPress - - News - ABRAM MASHEGO and ERIKA GIB­SON abram.mashego@city­press.co.za

Although al­leged coup plot­ter Elvis Ramose­budi tried to buy weapons on Twit­ter and mas­ter­mind a coup from a tiny Soshanguve house un­der his par­ents’ noses, the Hawks are tak­ing the case against him very, very se­ri­ously.

Ramose­budi (33) – an un­em­ployed se­cu­rity guard who drives a rick­ety taxi for a liv­ing – was ar­rested this week by the near-hys­ter­i­cal “elite” po­lice unit for al­legedly con­spir­ing to as­sas­si­nate ben­e­fi­cia­ries of state cap­ture.

These in­cluded Pres­i­dent Ja­cob Zuma, the Gupta broth­ers and a num­ber of Cabi­net min­is­ters, whom he in­tended to bump off with weapons he tried to buy on Twit­ter from a US com­pany.

So hap­less was he that he even left his ad­dress and cell­phone num­ber on Twit­ter for the weapons to be de­liv­ered.

The US com­pany he ap­proached ad­ver­tises its “ex­cel­lent sniper ri­fles” on­line.

Now, Bri­gadier Nyameka Xaba, head of the Hawks’ Crimes Against the State unit – which brought us the case against for­mer fi­nance min­is­ter Pravin Gord­han – is per­son­ally lead­ing the “highly se­cret in­ves­ti­ga­tion” into Ramose­budi.

And two sources close to the case said the Hawks had al­ready sub­poe­naed Stan­dard Bank to force it to re­lease Ramose­budi’s bank state­ments so they could find out if any­one ac­tu­ally paid him.

“The team will also be ob­tain­ing sworn state­ments from busi­ness­man Nicky Op­pen­heimer, who was also ap­proached to fund the planned coup,” one of the sources said.

It is un­der­stood that Op­pen­heimer is one of the com­plainants in the case that saw Ramose­budi ap­pear in the Jo­han­nes­burg Mag­is­trates’ Court on Fri­day on two counts of con­spir­acy to com­mit mur­der.

The Gupta broth­ers laid the other com­plaint that pro­vided the ba­sis for the other count.

“The in­ves­ti­ga­tors have al­ready met Op­pen­heimer and will con­tinue to do so as the in­ves­ti­ga­tion con­tin­ues,” said another source.

The Hawks in­sid­ers said they had worked “very closely” with se­cu­rity guards at min­ing gi­ant An­glo Amer­i­can who were “cru­cial” in se­cur­ing Ramose­budi’s ar­rest.

“The of­fi­cers are also wit­nesses and par­tic­i­pated in a sting op­er­a­tion, which led to the sus­pect be­ing ar­rested after he ex­plained how the coup would be car­ried out,” a Hawks source said.

Hawks spokesper­son Hang­wani Mu­laudzi said de­spite wide­spread ridicule at how se­ri­ously they were tak­ing the in­ves­ti­ga­tion, the unit re­mained res­o­lute.

“We are tak­ing the al­le­ga­tions very se­ri­ously and we need to get to the bot­tom of this is­sue,” he said.

In a se­ries of let­ters, Ramose­budi shared the de­tails of not one, but two bizarre coup plots in­volv­ing big play­ers on both sides of the state cap­ture di­vide.

In one let­ter ad­dressed to Op­pen­heimer, dated Oc­to­ber 25 2016, Ramose­budi de­tailed a plan to “save South Africa” from “ram­pant cor­rup­tion, state cap­ture, eco­nomic melt­down, self-in­ter­est, fraud and fail­ure to up­hold the Con­sti­tu­tion of this coun­try”.

He claimed to be the founder of the An­tiS­tate Cap­ture Death Squad Al­liance and asked for R60 mil­lion to fund “our un­der­cover coup plot mis­sion to as­sas­si­nate Ja­cob Zuma and his state cap­ture regime in the in­ter­est of South Africa”.

He listed 19 tar­gets, in­clud­ing Zuma, his son Duduzane, Gupta broth­ers Ajay, Ra­jesh and Atul, Cabi­net min­is­ters Mosebenzi Zwane and David Mahlobo, and Zuma al­lies Dudu Myeni, Brian Molefe and Fana Hlong­wane. As one does. But if he wanted to re­main un­der­cover, he prob­a­bly should not have in­cluded his Stan­dard Bank ac­count num­ber, into which the money could be paid. And then things got even weirder. The same day, Ramose­budi wrote a let­ter to Ajay Gupta ti­tled Hands off the Gupta Fam­ily, in which he claimed to be the founder of the Anti-White Monopoly Cap­i­tal­ists Regime.

In it, he pledged sup­port for the Gup­tas, say­ing they had “cre­ated em­ploy­ment op­por­tu­ni­ties for many peo­ple since the dawn of free­dom in South Africa, but white monopoly cap­i­tal­ists want to con­trol the econ­omy and pre­vent the Gupta fam­ily from cre­at­ing more em­ploy­ment op­por­tu­ni­ties for the pre­vi­ously dis­ad­van­taged black peo­ple”.

He wrote that “some­thing more dras­tic” needed to be done about those who sup­port “white monopoly cap­i­tal­ists”, and he wanted R75 mil­lion to en­sure that for­mer deputy fi­nance min­is­ter Mce­bisi Jonas, for­mer pub­lic pro­tec­tor Thuli Madonsela, for­mer MP Vytjie Men­tor and for­mer gov­ern­ment spokesper­son Themba Maseko were as­sas­si­nated.

He at­tached the same Stan­dard Bank ac­count num­ber.

Ramose­budi, who was re­ferred for psy­cho­log­i­cal eval­u­a­tion, is ex­pected to ap­ply for bail on Tues­day – a bid the very se­ri­ous Hawks will op­pose.

Mu­laudzi said the state would “op­pose bail due to the na­ture of the mat­ter, as it is re­garded as a Sched­ule 1 of­fence. The list of names of the tar­gets will also not be re­leased at this stage.” Ramose­budi joined Twit­ter in March. He fol­lows Afrikaner rights group AfriFo­rum, North Korea’s dic­ta­tor Kim Jong-un, most gov­ern­ment min­is­ters, the Op­pen­heimers and mem­bers of the ANC and the Eco­nomic Free­dom Fight­ers.

Naked breasts ad­ver­tis­ing porn web­sites also ap­pear on his Twit­ter feed.

On Fri­day af­ter­noon, his fa­ther, Stan­ley, told Rap­port about his son.

“Elvis is the mid­dle of five chil­dren. He was al­ways a smart child and he was in a pri­vate school, but he never fin­ished ma­tric,” he said.

“He then searched for work and be­gan work­ing as a se­cu­rity guard. In the last while, he has not had a job.

“He has never had trou­ble with the po­lice be­fore. A per­son doesn’t know what kind of in­flu­ences your child gets ex­posed to.

“I didn’t know any­thing about these plans. He is a good boy. He is my only boy.”

PHOTO: EPA / KIM LUDBROOK

THE MAN WHO HATCHED THE PLAN Al­leged coup plot­ter Elvis Ramose­budi ap­peared in the Jo­han­nes­burg Mag­is­trates’ Court on Fri­day on charges of at­tempted mur­der against gov­ern­ment of­fi­cials

PHOTO: ERIKA GIB­SON

AD­DRESS NOT QUITE UN­KNOWN Elvis Ramose­budi’s house in Soshanguve in Pre­to­ria

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