Estina and politicians: new probe
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.