After years of struggle and the matter reported to the Public Protector, beneficiaries of the Vrede Dairy Farm project in the Free State have finally received their shares.
The Vrede Dairy Project was established in 2012 and there were 85 initial beneficiaries. An investigation by the provincial government however found that only 65 were the rightful beneficiaries of the farm.
Free State Premier Sisi Ntombela says those who have been left out were found to be working as professionals in other sectors. She says they had to oblige to hand over the farm to beneficiaries as per recommendations of the Public Protector and the high court order.
“So today we are handing over to them, you can see they are going to get 583 cows and 9 houses. And equipment, machines and also they are going to get 2020 hectares it means we are also giving them land. So we are very excited about this project it’s a good project, you can see for yourself. It is now from today in their hands, it is up to them.”
Suspects in Vrede Farm scandal
In June last year, the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) said the extradition process for Atul Gupta and his wife has started. This is in relation to a matter that involves 17 suspects, four of them being the companies named in the Vrede Dairy Farm scandal.
The Free State Agriculture Department’s former heads, Peter Thabethe and Dimakatso Moorosi, former chief financial officer Seipati Dlamini and businessman Iqhbal Sharma appeared briefly in the Bloemfontein Magistrate’s Court in June.
They were charged with contravening the Public Finance Management Act.