Johannesburg - ANC secretary-general Ace Magashule on Monday denied his son was in any way involved in the controversial Gupta-linked Vrede Dairy Farm Project.
Magashule was briefing the media on the outcomes of the ANC NEC meeting when he sought to distance his son from alleged corrupt activities by the controversial Gupta family in the Free State.
“My son has been working for the Guptas, it has never been a secret. When I became a premier he was working for the Guptas, it was not a secret, you knew as the media.
“My son is not involved in the Vrede dairy [farm project], so let the law take its own place in relation to Vrede dairy and any acts of corruption, unlawfulness and all that,” Magashule said.
Magashule stressed that it was a universal principle that nobody was guilty until proven otherwise.
“Because we have adopted the resolution that we must fight corruption, this is what is happening. We are saying whenever there is corruption, the law must take its place, whether it is with Vrede Dairy or any other thing,”he said.
Last week, the National Prosecuting Authority's Asset Forfeiture Unit (AFU) took control of the multi-million Estina dairy farm in the Free State and freezed millions of rands in bank accounts of Atul Gupta and several companies linked to the Gupta family.
According to the Gupta email leaks, Magashule’s son, Gift Magashule, has been in the employ of the Gupta family for seven years, starting in 2010 when he was roped in as consultant by the family.
The farm, which is situated at the remote agricultural town of Vrede, was established to benefit black farmers but has become what has been described as a cash cow for the Gupta family through alleged corrupt dealings with senior politicians in the province.
The Free State's agricultural department handed the farm to the Gupta family in 2013 on a 99-year lease, a questionable transaction that saw millions of rands being received by the Guptas and their allies.
In the same year, the department, under then MEC Mosebenzi Zwane and current mineral resources minister, controversially paid around R220 million to the Guptas, R30 million of which ended up funding the family’s lavish wedding in Sun City in the North West.
Around R220 million in assets linked to the Guptas have now been seized by the AFU, as they continue their clampdown on those implicated in state capture allegations.
Zwane is a close ally of Magashule and the two have been staunch defenders of president Jacob Zuma who also enjoy close ties with the Gupta family and whose son Duduzane Zuma is an associate in the family’s crumbling business empire.
The Gupta family has been accused of grooming both Zuma and Magashule’s sons as middle men to facilitate the covert looting of state resources.