NEWS & ANALYSIS

Vrede Dairy: Impression that there is political interference – FF Plus

Tammy Wessels says NPA's excuses do not ring true

Vrede Dairy: NPA’s decision creates the impression that there is political interference and protection

29 November 2018

The decision of the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) to withdraw all the charges against the accused in the Vrede Dairy saga creates the impression that there is undue political interference and protection in the case.

The FF Plus views the NPA's excuse, i.e. that it is struggling to get the Indian and Arabic United Emirates authorities to cooperate, as strange seeing as it was prominent figures in the Free State local government who were arrested.

At first glance, the prosecution seemed to be based on very strong evidence.  The mere fact that the former head of the Free State Department of Agriculture, Peter Thabete, and the financial manager, Sylvia Dlamini, were arrested means that the NPA's case would have to be based on strong evidence.

It raises the question of whether the investigation was not conducted properly or whether political factors are possibly influencing the prosecution of the accused.

This investigation into state capture is smelling of political interference more and more. The former Free State Premier, Ace Magashule, has not yet been asked to appear before the Zondo Commission.

And yet Magashule is frequently implicated in irregularities in which the Gupta family were also involved.

The FF Plus will examine the NPA's decision and consider taking further steps. To ensure that a thorough investigation into state capture is conducted, the FF Plus will officially request Judge Raymond Zondo to call Magashule to appear before the Commission so that he can explain the various allegations of state capture against him, including those related to the Free State province.

State capture and the political protection of those individuals who are implicated in it is a serious allegation. It would be terrible if prominent politicians and officials are not prosecuted because of political interference or inadequate investigations.

The FF Plus will keep fighting back against the ANC's corrupt exploitation of the Free State's resources. In 2019, voters will also have the opportunity to put an end to the ANC's looting of the Free State province at the polls.

Issued by Tammy Wessels, FF Plus MPL: Free State Legislature, 29 November 2018