The Democratic Alliance (DA) welcomes the announcement by the Head of the National Prosecuting Authority’s Investigative Unit, Hermione Cronje, that the Vrede Dairy Project investigation is complete and almost ready for prosecution.
The DA is hopeful that this time around the case is watertight after previous disappointment when seven individuals were arrested and charged in February 2018, only to have the cases withdrawn later.
We hope that the investigations and imminent arrests of individuals involved in malfeasance regarding this project will include politicians who initiated the project and authorised the payment of funds to the Gupta-linked company involved, Estina.
After a National Treasury investigation that exposed the irregularities in the project and the resulting national government’s withdrawal from it, politicians in the Free State continued to appropriate funds to, and support, this project. I raised issues regarding the Gupta involvement, the lack of beneficiaries, the misappropriation of funds and the continued allocation of funds to the project on many occasions in the Free State Legislature and in public. In sittings of the Legislature my statements were always met with denials and personal and racial insults.
Today the intended beneficiaries of the project, who should be the project’s reason to exist and own 51% of shares, are still side-lined.
The DA have been fighting for justice regarding this project for seven years and will not stop until the beneficiaries are recognised and people are prosecuted for the theft of taxpayers’ money.