Vrede dairy farm project finally handed over to community

Vrede dairy farm project finally handed over to community

The controversial Vrede dairy farm project has finally been handed over to the community, eight years after it was launched. 

Image courtesy: SABC News (YouTube - Screenshot)

The handover was conducted by Free State Premier Sisi Ntombela on Friday.


This follows the recommendations made by Public Protector Busiswe Mkhwebane in December 2020, that an audit be conducted of all those who were meant to benefit from the project. 


Mkhwebane has welcomed Ntombela’s handover of the project. 


“This development concludes the implementation of the Public Protector’s remedial action as spelt out in a December 2020 investigation report, directing the provincial MEC for Agriculture and Rural Development to see to it that an audit of all those who were meant to benefit from the project is conducted. 

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“From the audit, a database of beneficiaries had to be developed, taking into account the heirs of the intended beneficiaries who passed away while waiting for the project to take shape. The MEC also had to ensure that the project was revived and that the beneficiaries participate fully as collective holders of a 51% stake in the business.”


In 2020, Mkhwebane’s remedial action found that the provincial executive council failed to execute its constitution oversight responsibilities on the project. 


In addition, the Hawks were also directed to consider the report alongside their own investigation into the matter for possible criminal charges. 


Several people, including former agriculture MEC Mosebenzi Zwane, are currently facing money laundering related charges.


The project became one of the symbols of state capture when it emerged the money meant for beneficiaries were funnelled to the Gupta-linked Estina company.  


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