South Africa - Johannesburg - 16 September 2019 - Former Head of Department of Free State Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, Mr Peter Thabethe testify at the State Capture Commission of Inquiry in Parktown, Gauteng. Picture: Dimpho Maja/African News Agency(ANA)

Johannesburg - Former Free State head of department for agriculture and rural development Peter Thabethe is expected back on the stand at the Zondo commission on Thursday. 

When he appeared last month, the former head of agriculture in the Free State battled to account on how Estina, a Gupta-linked company, was chosen as a local partner for the Free State Vrede dairy farm even though the company lacked experience.
 
Thabethe battled to answer questions on whether he had interrogated Estina as the perfect partner for the project. 

He maintained that locally they checked on the company’s registration and tax compliance which was the only things that needed to be a line before a business deal could take place with the government.

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Zondo appeared unconvinced by the explanation and pressed Thabethe on why a more in-depth investigation was not done on Estina and whether it was legal or not. 

The Vrede dairy farm project was allocated over R200 million by the Free State government. Only 2% of the funds were allocated to the project and none of the small farmers who were meant to benefit saw any of the funds.

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