The intended beneficiaries of the Estina Vrede dairy farm say they are no longer interested in the Free State government’s empty promises. It’s been nine years since the project came into existence.
They say they have been lied to for far too long to believe anything.
In the latest development, the Department of Agriculture has told them that the controversial project will finally be handed over to the rightful beneficiaries in January next year.
The intended beneficiaries say their names were merely used to steal money that was used to set up the dairy farm which ended up benefitting other people.
“There is no way we can be happy because people who come here talking about the dairy are still saying the same thing that was said to us years ago in 2012. We have never heard of anything that is tangible. It is still the same promises that was never fulfilled,” says one of the intended beneficiaries.
“We are called beneficiaries? Have you ever seen someone called a teacher and not teaching? For over 10 years (we’ve) been called beneficiaries, what have we benefited?” asks another.
“The recipe that they are using is still the same Gupta recipe, nothing has changed. We are given the same medicine for different illnesses. The things that were bought for that dairy in 2012; the cattle are now old, they cannot produce milk; machines are old and are still the same machines that were installed years ago and they are broken.”
Meanwhile, the Free State Department of Agriculture says it is complying with the January 2019 Free State High Court order and has verified 65 beneficiaries so far.
The order stipulates that the beneficiaries must be incorporated into the project.
The more than R220-million farm project, linked to the Gupta family, has been at the centre of a corruption and money-laundering scandal.
Agriculture Department Spokesperson, Zimasa Leputla says the department has also complied with the Public Protector’s report by offering a formal apology for the delays.