Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo.
Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo.

LIVE FEED: State Capture Inquiry: August 14, 2020

By Zintle Mahlati Time of article published Aug 14, 2020

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Johannesburg - The Zondo commission resumes on Friday morning to hear Vrede dairy farm project-related evidence.

The former chief financial officer at the Free State department of agriculture and rural development, Seipati Dlamini, will take the stand.

The Vrede dairy farm project was meant to up-lift black emerging farmers, but little of funds went towards the project. It was reported that some of the funds meant for the project were distributed to various Gupta-linked bank accounts.

Last year, the commission heard from Former Free State department head Peter Thabethe.

He had headed the department of agriculture and played a key role in the appointment of Estina, a Gupta-linked company, as a partner for the government in the Vrede dairy farm project.

WATCH FEED HERE

Advocate Leah Gcabashe led Thabethe in the questioning regarding how aware was his office of the possible misuse of funds. In reports submitted by Estina to the department, it was found that some of the funds were misused. Approximately $5 million was paid to a company called Gateway for a feasibility study.

Further investigations and site visits by some government officials found that the study was inadequately done and would need to be redone. Thabethe said he relied on his juniors to approve reports supplied by Estina and that he was not aware of everything.

Gcabashe and commission chair Deputy Chief Raymond Zondo questioned Thabethe on why they did not question Estina on its use of such a large sum of money to pay consultants. Gcabashe said it implied a lack of care of how government money was spent.

"Should you as the department not have commissioned a feasibility study before hiring Estina," Zondo asked.

Thabethe said his department was satisfied with the feasibility study provided by Estina, this is even after he was presented with a report that showed the feasibility study conducted by Estina was badly done.

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