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Mkhwebane on Vrede Dairy Farm matter: Investigation is complete, but report must be wrapped up

Mkhwebane on Vrede Dairy Farm matter: Investigation is complete, but report must be wrapped up

Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane has completed a report into the Vrede Dairy Farm scandal.

Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane has completed a report into the Vrede Dairy Farm scandal.

  • Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane says her investigation into the Vrede Dairy Farm project in the Free State has been completed.  
  • However, those served with notices wanted more time before preparing their responses.  
  • Her office also requested affidavits from other politicians who were allegedly involved.  

Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane’s investigation into the Vrede Dairy Farm matter has been completed, but implicated parties served with notices requested more time to adequately consider its content before preparing their responses.

Mkhwebane’s office released 14 reports on Wednesday.

She said the Vrede dairy investigation proved to be “complex”, adding other institutions had also been approached.

“We thought the matters were as simple and it will only involve those Free State politicians, but we had to then request affidavits from all other politicians who were involved in this particular matter,” she said.

“Only earlier this month were [we] able to serve implicated parties with notices in terms of section 7(9) of the Public Protector Act. We had hoped that we would get their responses on time and have the report ready for this briefing.

“Some of the parties requested more time to adequately consider the contents of the notices before preparing their responses.

READ | Mkhwebane’s bid to appeal Vrede dairy farm judgment fails

“I must add that such requests are commonly requested by parties, especially in complex matters and in the interest of fairness, we do allow parties reasonable extensions of deadline so that they can adequately, and to their satisfaction, respond to potential adverse findings.

“We expect that, by the last week of this month, we would have received all the responses so that we can wrap up the investigation and publish the findings.”

Failed

Last year, the Gauteng High Court in Pretoria ruled that Mkhwebane had failed in her duties to investigate and report on the Vrede Dairy Farm project in the Free State.

Judge Ronel Tolmay ruled the initial report, which Mkhwebane released in 2018, was unconstitutional and invalid and set it aside.

The court subsequently found Mkhwebane responsible for some of the legal costs in her personal capacity.

Last month, the Constitutional Court dismissed her bid for leave to appeal the judgment against her report.

News24 previously reported the farm, gifted to Estina in 2013, under a free 99-year lease by the free State agriculture department, was one of the most scandal-plagued transactions between the controversial Guptas and a government entity. 

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