Johannesburg - DA leader Mmusi Maimane has slammed Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane's report into corruption in the Vrede Dairy Farm project. The report was released on Friday
Maimane said while the DA legal team was still considering the report, it was mind-boggling how "after an almost four year investigation into the Vrede Dairy Project, Mkhwebane found only that the Free State Department of Agriculture contravened the prescripts of the Public Finance Management Act."
He said 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 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," he said.
Maimane noted that Public Protector chose to ignore the DA 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," he said.
He strongly criticised the remedial action recommended in the report.
"She proposes to discipline the implicated officials but makes no recommendations whatsoever on the action to be taken against the political principals who orchestrated this evil project - Mosebenzi Zwane and Ace Magashule," he said.
Maimane said the DA would be studying this "inadequate whitewash of a report" in detail and would not let the matter does not end here.
"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," he said.