Weird, weird coup plot
The Hawks’ arrest of a man they claim as a would-be assassin rings anything but true
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.”
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
ADDRESS NOT QUITE UNKNOWN Elvis Ramosebudi’s house in Soshanguve in Pretoria