Acting head of the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development in the Free State, Tankisi Janki Masiteng has told the Commission of Inquiry into allegations of State Capture, that he only found out through the media that Gupta-linked Estina was actually an IT Company.

This was after details of the botched Vrede Dairy Farm Project were made public. Cash from the project was allegedly used to fund the notorious Gupta wedding, among other things.

Masiteng was responding to questions from Justice Raymond Zondo about how it could be justified that an IT company could be appointed to run a dairy farm.

Masiteng took Deputy Justice Zondo through the steps by which the dodgy project was approved.

“Estina was appointed to do the feasibility study, to do the business planning, to do the water planning and so on and so forth. It was appointed to do almost everything. Why would Estina be the implementing agent when in fact they are to benefit from the project?  -They are party to the project. Shouldn’t the implementing agent be somebody else or is it my ignorance about how these things are done in government? -Chairperson your analysis is correct. I will not be able to respond to that,” Masiteng exchanged with Deputy Justice.

Masiteng also told the Commission that he had submitted the proposal of the Vrede Dairy Project because the provincial legislature had passed a resolution on the project and he was presented with all the documentation.

Cash from the project was allegedly siphoned off to benefit the Guptas, among others.

Masiteng says when he arrived back in South Africa from an overseas trip, he was told that there was already an agreement between the Department and Estina.

Masiteng was amongst those arrested in relation to the project but charges were later provisionally withdrawn.

“Chairperson, my understanding is that yes you do have an EXCO resolution and also it becomes a directive; but it does not imply that you can take it at face value and implement it. So that is why he was saying I am deviating to ensure that I comply also with the EXCO resolution. It was the EXCO  resolution, it is very clear; it is talking to the very same Vrede Integrated Dairy Agri-business project.”

Click below to watch Former Free State Director of District Services Tankisi Masiteng’s testimony: 

3 mysterious deaths  

From dodgy deals to death threats and allegations of murder. Two witnesses have told the State Capture Commission they still live in fear.

The two intended beneficiaries of the Estina Vrede dairy farm further testified that law enforcement had failed them.

The commission also heard that at least three people have lost their lives under suspicious circumstances in Vrede and neighbouring areas.

Concluding his testimony, Ephraim Dhlamini – one of the Vrede dairy farmer beneficiaries – detailed how his life was under threat.

Dhlamini and others never benefited from the project. On Tuesday, he detailed a meeting with then Agriculture MEC Mosebenzi Zwane and then-Free State Premier Ace Magashule.

Dhlamini testified that he was threatened after he made people within the project aware of their rights.

Pieter-Louis Myburgh’s book on Vrede Dairy Project

Pieter-Louis Myburgh first outlined explosive claims about ANC Secretary-General, Ace Magashule, in his book Gangster State. Now he’s written about newly-unearthed records from the GuptaLeaks that shed further light on the roll-out of the infamous Vrede Dairy Project in the Free State, while Magashule was Premier.