Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane
The DA notes the release this morning of the Public Protector’s report into the corruption in the Vrede Dairy Farm project. Our legal team have been tasked to consider the report and I will provide further details during my briefing on the outcomes of Federal Council on Sunday.
However, it is frankly mind boggling how it could be that after an almost four year investigation into the Vrede Dairy Project, Public Protector Adv. Busisiwe Mkhwebane found only that the Free State Department of Agriculture contravened the prescripts of the Public Finance Management Act (PFMA).
The Public Protector also failed to send a copy of the report to the DA as the original complainant, as per past practice.
There has been a large amount of evidence of grand corruption and money laundering relating to Vrede that is already in the public domain. Yet none of this seems to have been investigated by the Public Protector. When I took the intended beneficiaries to meet with the Public Protector in December last year, she promised to act in good faith and to conduct a comprehensive investigation.
It is therefore unconscionable that her report is nothing more than a whitewash of a grand project of corruption and looting.
Neither the people of Vrede or the Free State are any closer to seeing justice for being robbed of R220 million to line the pockets of the Guptas.
The Public Protector chose to ignore our submission that the project originated in the Office of the Premier of the Free State, Ace Mageshule, and made no mention of the involvement of the Guptas and how they benefitted from this project. This stinks of a complete whitewash.
Similarly, the remedial action recommended in the report proposes to discipline the implicated officials but she makes no recommendations whatsoever on the action to be taken against the political principals who orchestrated this evil project - Mosebenzi Zwane and Ace Magashule.
We will be studying this inadequate whitewash of a report in detail.
For the DA, this matter does not end here. We have and will always stand with ordinary people who continue to be let down by the state.
The intended beneficiaries of the Vrede Dairy Project deserve nothing less than full political accountability and swift criminal prosecutions of the corrupt thieves behind this project.
The Public Protector’s report does not come close to offering this.
Issued by DA