Pretoria - Democratic Alliance leader Mmusi Maimane on Tuesday visited the offices of Public Protector, Busisiwe Mkhwebane, demanding answers over the delay in releasing the outcome of her investigation into the Gupta-linked Estina Dairy Farm in Vrede in the Free State province.
“Today I have come to the public protector’s office to say we are here to demand the report. We are not saying she is the one [implicated]. We just want the report. We want the report for our people. We want the report so that we can get those who have committed such [criminal] acts against our people to end up behind bars," the leader of South Africa’s main opposition party said.
"We can’t delay this report any further. She has ducked and dived around this issue. I can’t … Today I am here to make a simple call. Give us the report on the issue of Vrede so that we can take action from there. If the Public Protector cannot do her job, the public is not protected. It’s an urgent matter that we must attend to.”
Maimane was accompanied by a small group on Tuesday, before his scheduled closed-door meeting with Mkhwebane in Pretoria.
“Mineral Resources Minister Mosebenzi Zwane, in his previous capacity as Free State provincial [Member of the Executive Council] MEC, is implicated in possible irregular payments of between R40m and R144m to a dairy project in his hometown of Vrede, run by the Gupta-linked company, Estina," he said.
He said the DA undertook to engage on what was happening on the farm and even visited the Free State.
“Even post the engagement in the farm, we wrote to the Public Protector to say send us the report. We have communication from her as early as April when our leader of opposition in the Free State wrote and said we demand the report. Her [Mkhwebane] response, which I have, states categorically that the report is imminent or it’s in the late stages of conclusion. Today is the 4th of December, and there is nothing. Our people are still waiting.”
Maimane said with the African National Congress top brass implicated, one can assume Mkhwebane does not want to release the report before the upcoming elective conference of the governing party.