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Ramaphosa Responds to Farm Heist Inquiry

FILE - South African President Cyril Ramaphosa addresses parliament in Cape Town, South Africa, Thursday, June 9, 2022.

South Africa's President Cyril Cyril Ramaphosa has answered questions from the nation's anti-corruption body about the suspected cover-up of a cash heist at his luxurious farmhouse, his office announced on Friday.

In a brief statement, the South African Public Protector's office confirmed receiving Ramaphosa's response about the farm theft investigation but provided no other details.

The watchdog had earlier this week threatened to summon Ramaphosa after a response deadline had passed.

On Friday, Ramaphosa's spokesman Vincent Magwenya told AFP the subpoena warning had been "grossly unnecessary".

The watchdog opened a probe in June over potential breaches of the executive ethics code after Ramaphosa was accused of bribing burglars to keep quiet about a February 2020 heist at his ranch. It is alleged $4 million in cash was stolen.

The case, which has piled pressure on the president amid heightened tensions within the ruling African National Congress (ANC) party, stems from a police report filed by former national spy boss Arthur Fraser last month.

Fraser alleged that robbers broke into Ramaphosa's Phala Phala farm in the northeast of the country where they found the cash hidden in furniture.

Ramaphosa hid the robbery from police and the tax authorities, Fraser alleged, accusing the head of state of organising the kidnapping and questioning of the robbers, and then bribing them into silence.

The president has acknowledged the burglary but denies the alleged kidnapping and bribery, saying he reported the burglary to the police.

He has also disputed the amount of money involved and said the cash came from legitimate sales of game from his animal breeding farm.