Public Protector Busi Mkhwebane. File picture: Jonisayi Maromo/ANA

Johannesburg - The Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane has found the Free State Department of Agriculture guilty of maladministration for its handling of the Vrede Estina dairy farm project. 

Mkhwebane released her report on Friday.  
 
She found that proper processes were not followed in that the agreement between Estina, which leased the farm, and the department was invalid.
 
As part of her remedial action, Mkhwebane has ordered that Free State Premier Ace Magashule should institute disciplinary action against implicated officials. 
 
The project, which was allocated millions of rand meant to uplift black farmers, is believed to have been a scam to open up the doors for millions of rand to be looted by the controversial Gupta family. 
 
The go-ahead for the project was given by Minister of Mineral Resources Mosebenzi Zwane, who was then the Free State MEC for agriculture. 
 
Mkhwebane has tasked Magashule with the duty of disciplining officials involved in the project, but he has also been implicated in the project as having given it the go-ahead. 
 
It was reported that the millions of rand for the farm went to fund a Gupta family wedding and most of the money was divided among Gupta family bank accounts for their businesses. 
 
One of the Gupta brothers, Atul, received R10 million into his personal account. 
 
However, Mkhwebane’s report did not probe the involvement of the Gupta family and the reports of how the millions of rand for the project were spent. 

Political Bureau