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Johannesburg - Has the Gupta-linked multimillion-rand Estina Dairy Farm claimed yet another victim?

This is the question that the opposition wants answered after the battered body of one of the beneficiaries of the failed R200million project in Vrede, Free State, was found in his shack.

Philemon Ngwenya was one of the small-scale farmers who were set to benefit from the project.

Ngwenya’s daughter, Loliwe Ngwenya, said the family wanted to know why he was murdered.

“There was nothing suspicious in anything he said when I last spoke to him, on Thursday. He would speak to us about the farm, but he never told us that there were people threatening him. We are still shattered by what happened,” Loliwe said.

“What hurts me the most is that I saw his body following the attack. There was nothing that showed there had been a struggle before he died. He was in bed as if he was just sleeping.”

Free State police spokesperson Sergeant Mmako Mophiring said Ngwenya’s “brutally battered” body was discovered at Knelvlei farm outside Vrede. “The motive behind the killing is not yet known,” Mophiring said.

DA Free State premier candidate Patricia Kopane said the police had been given a recording of death threats made to beneficiaries.

“Recently there were recordings distributed of a person in Vrede calling for all the beneficiaries to be killed. Should the motive be linked to the project, it would not be the first time a person has lost his life while trying to expose the rot in this project,” Kopane said.

She said Moses Tshake, a provincial Department of Agriculture and Rural Development auditor, was killed after he apparently questioned payments linked to the farm in 2013.

Mophiring denied that there was a recording threatening the beneficiaries, and asked anyone with information regarding Ngwenya’s murder to contact 0589138501/2.

 @smashaba

The Star