Vrede Diary Farm: Hawks should deepen probe – Mmusi Maimane

DA leader says individuals abused their roles as public servants

Maimane calls on Hawks to deepen probe into ANC corruption at Vrede Dairy Farm

21 June 2018

I have today written to the new National Head of the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation (the Hawks), Adv Godfrey Lebeya, requesting a formal meeting to discuss the ongoing investigation into the Free State Government’s now infamous Estina Dairy Farm project in Vrede.

Yesterday, the Minister of Police confirmed in a written parliamentary question that the investigation into the Estina Dairy Farm Project is still on-going, and that the investigation would be submitted to the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) once finalised. I would like to therefore seek clarity on a number of matters from the Hawks, most importantly the progress on investigating the political appointees who were involved in the project. This includes the former Free State Premier and now Secretary-General of the ANC, Ace Magashule, and former Free State MEC for Agriculture, Mosebenzi Zwane.

These individuals abused their roles as public servants, and instead served the interests of ANC-connected crooks. To this point, it appears that the political masterminds behind the fraudulent scam have been let off the hook. This cannot be tolerated.

In August last year, I hand delivered a legal indictment to the Hawks Office, containing over 200 pages of prima facie evidence showing that Mosebenzi Zwane and members of the Gupta family, through an intricate web of companies and actors, stole almost R200 million of public funds which ended up paying for a Gupta family wedding at Sun City in 2013.

This indictment provides concrete evidence which outlines in detail how money was stolen from the intended beneficiaries and provides sufficient evidence to support the criminal charges laid against several members of the Gupta family, their associates, and Zwane in July 2017 by DA Shadow Minister of Finance, David Maynier MP. These charges include money laundering, racketeering, assisting another to benefit from the proceeds of unlawful activities, and acquiring, possessing or using the proceeds of unlawful activities in terms of the Prevention of Organized Crime Act 121 of 1998.

I would therefore like to discuss this matter with Adv. Lebeya, in order to understand the current status of the investigation, its projected timeline, the inclusion of the political principals, and the contents of the legal indictment I provided to the Hawks last year.

What makes the matter of utmost importance is that to date, none of the political principals involved have been held to account. The Public Protector’s report into this matter absolves the very individuals who designed and orchestrated this R220 million scandal. The DA has taken the report on legal review on this very point, as we believe it to be a “whitewash”.

South Africans need to be assured that those politicians who orchestrate the theft of public money are investigated and held to account, and the Hawks is the very body tasked with combatting, investigating and preventing grand scale corruption such as what we’ve seen unfold in Vrede.

Issued by Mmusi Maimane, Leader of the Democratic Alliance, 21 June 2018