Estina and politi­cians: new probe

The Witness - - NEWS -

PUB­LIC Pro­tec­tor Bu­sisiwe Mkhwe­bane told MPs her of­fice would open a new case file to probe the role of politi­cians and in­di­vid­u­als in the Estina dairy farm mat­ter.

Mkhwe­bane was heav­ily crit­i­cised in Fe­bru­ary af­ter the re­lease of her re­port into the Estina mat­ter, which made find­ings against the Free State Depart­ment of Agri­cul­ture.

The Demo­cratic Al­liance, the orig­i­nal com­plainants, la­belled the re­port a “white­wash” be­cause it had not probed the role of for­mer Free State pre­mier Ace Ma­gashule and the Gupta fam­ily, both at the cen­tre of the project.

The re­port was also crit­i­cised for not con­sult­ing more thor­oughly with the in­tended ben­e­fi­cia­ries of the project, who had been de­prived of an in­tended R220 mil­lion in to­tal.

Yes­ter­day, jus­tice port­fo­lio com­mit­tee chair­per­son Mathole Mot­shekga asked Mkhwe­bane if she was wor­ried that in­ves­tiga­tive units such as the Hawks were “run­ning ahead” of her work by mak­ing ar­rests and raid­ing the Gupta fam­ily’s com­pound.

Mkhwe­bane ad­mit­ted that the pre­vi­ous Estina re­port did not in­clude an in­ves­ti­ga­tion into politi­cians, as the re­port had been fi­nalised in 2015 and the orig­i­nal com­plaint did not in­clude a query into politi­cians.

How­ever, she said her of­fice could open their own case file into politi­cians, with­out men­tion­ing spe­cific names.

“So, we will have to relook into the roles es­pe­cially of the politi­cians, and also the im­pli­ca­tions for the ben­e­fi­cia­ries, and the im­pact on them.”

She could not say how long the open­ing of a new file would take, but un­der­took to give the com­mit­tee a re­ply by the end of April when it is to be as­signed to an in­ves­ti­ga­tor.

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