By researcher Naledi Mashishi
Africa Check does not hesitate to verify the absurd. We have investigated allegations that dead sirens were found in the swimming pool of a South African president. And did a Prophet really dare a lion to fight in Kruger National Park?
But I didn’t expect my fact-check into the allegations that South African President Cyril Ramaphosa had been charged with racketeering and treason to get very strange, very quickly.
A Facebook post, published in April 2021, includes nine photographs. The first is that of two men standing outside the Sandton, Johannesburg branch of the South African Police Department. The second shows one of the men writing on a document inside a room. The rest of the photos appear to show pages from an affidavit.
It should be easy, I thought. I’ll call the police, identify the man in the photos, and find out the truth. But I ended up making a mad descent into a conspiracy theory rabbit hole.
RAMAPHOSA “STOLE” MORE MONEY THAN EXISTS
It turns out that the charges were filed by a man named Fanie Fondse. The allegations he makes are serious. Racketeering, murder, theft, robbery, fraud, culpable homicide, high treason, assault, theft under false pretenses and defeat of justice are all recorded as “incidences” .
The 200-page affidavit shown in the pictures unfolds like a Renaissance painting – the more you look at it, the more you see. And strange things become.
The indictment claims Ramaphosa was involved in a burglary dating back to the 1960s. A quadrillion R41 was allegedly stolen from the country’s coffers, along with 100,000 tonnes of gold.
We’re not talking about a small change here. A Google search indicates that R41 quadrillion is more than South Africa‘s total GDP, which stands at $ 351 billion or 4.8 trillion rand.
In fact, that’s more money than the total GDP of all the countries on the planet combined, which currently stands at $ 87.74 trillion.
What about the gold that would have been stolen? That’s just over half of all gold ever mined.
CONTINUATION OF BANK ACCOUNTS FROM SOUTH AFRICA TO MONGOLIA
Where would Ramaphosa have stolen this money from? The affidavit provides details buried in pages of historical anecdotes and puzzling financial documents from many countries.
But there is a thread that ties all of these documents together: the White Spiritual Boy Trust.
If this sounds familiar to you, it’s because it’s the same trust that ANC veteran and businessman Tokyo Sexwale claimed to have donated a “heritage fund” worth more. 100,000 billion rand to the South African Reserve Bank. According to Sexwale, this was for public spending on education and Covid-19 relief.
The affidavit is littered with impossible sums of money related to the White Spiritual Boy Trust. According to the documents, there are an astonishing number of 624 bank accounts in the world with the account name “White Spiritual Boy”.
These accounts contain money ranging from US $ 900 billion in a South African account at Nedbank to US $ 700 billion in a Mongolian account. That’s 93 zeros – ninety-three zeros! A number so incredibly large that it makes “gazillion” sound like a real number in comparison.
If Sexwale and by extension Fondse are right, it means that a dark alien family, with more wealth than all of planet Earth, has decided to donate trillions to South Africa. This money then disappeared while having no noticeable impact on the world economy. Watch the press conference given by Sexwale to hear the allegations in detail, but be aware that it lasts more than two hours.
IMPOSSIBLE BANK DEPOSITS
Jean le Roux, associate researcher at the Digital Forensic Research Lab at the Atlantic Council, also had an eye on this crazy story.
In a detail Twitter feed he pointed to inconsistencies in the affidavit against Ramaphosa, including duplicate bank account numbers and “official” documents with suspicious misspellings.
Le Roux told us that some of the deposits mentioned in the Sexwale and Fondse documents could not have taken place. For example, the affidavit includes a balance on an Investec bank account in 1975.
“If you Google Investec, you’ll find that it was created in 1974, so it looks good,” Le Roux explained. “But if you dig a little deeper, you’ll see that they didn’t have a banking license at the time. In 1974, when they were created, they were just a financial services company.
The affidavit also claims that a White Spiritual Boy account with a balance of $ 700 billion is at Wesbank, an asset-based financial provider. Wesbank offers loans to buy homes, cars, businesses, and other assets. It does not offer typical banking services or accounts with deposit facilities.
Le Roux, who has a financial background, added that none of the documents constitute real proof that transactions took place.
“They said ‘here is a letter confirming that the money has been transferred’ and to prove that they are drowning you in the information,” he said.
THEORY OF CONSPIRACY PROMOTED BY QANON SUPPORTERS
If you thought we were done here, wait. The White Spiritual Boy Trust appears to be linked to an online conspiracy theory claiming that there is a secret global banking system that hides billions of dollars and fabricates financial crises in order to steal even more money.
The theory even surfaced on 4chan, an anonymous online bulletin board, where readers pointed out that the claims appeared to be false.
To be clear, 4chan is the same site that gave birth to conspiracy theories such as QAnon which claims former US President Donald Trump is fighting elites involved in a global satanic pedophile ring. If even 4Chan calls the White Spiritual Boy Trust bogus, well …
SOUTH AFRICA RESERVE BANK: “THE LIGHT FUND WAS A SCAM”
Since Fondse and Sexwale made their claims public, the Reserve Bank has denigrated them as part of a “joint scam”. According to the bank, this is not the first time that someone has claimed the existence of a White Spiritual Boy Trust type fund. It probably won’t be the last either.
South Africa’s specialized crime control unit, the Hawks, has confirmed it is investigating the absurdity of an R41 quadrillion burglary. We’ll keep an eye on what they find. From where we sit, it increasingly appears that Sexwale and Fondse’s ultra-wealthy foreign donor family are of the ‘Nigerian Prince’ type.
This article appeared on AfricaCheck.org, a non-partisan organization that promotes accuracy in public debate and the media. Follow them on Twitter: @AfricaCheck
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