The Democratic Alliance (DA) welcomes the court appearances of individuals involved in the Vrede Dairy Project corruption scandal.
The accused include the former Deputy Director-General of the Department of Trade and Industry and Transnet board member, Iqbal Sharma; the former Free State Agriculture Department Head, Peter Thabethe; current Deputy Director-General at the Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs, Sylvia Dlamini; Bloem Water Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Limakatso Moorosi; and Sharma’s businessman brother-in-law, Dinesh Patel. They appeared in court during the virtual proceedings and are released on bail of between R10 000 and R500 000.
While officials and business people continue to be pursued by law enforcement agencies, the DA remains concerned by the lack of political accountability in spite of the Public Protector report implicating politicians in maladministration with a recommendation that they be pursued criminally. The DA submitted affidavits to the HAWKS requesting the investigation of politicians that include former Premier Ace Magashule, former MECs Elsabe Rockman and Mosebenzi Zwane, and current MEC Mamiki Qabathe. The DA is of the view that these politicians were aware of the allegations of corruption and continued to appropriate funds to the project. Magashule also has close ties with the Gupta brothers who are currently fleeing justice abroad. Magashule’s son, Tshepiso Magashule, was employed by the Guptas, was housed in one of their residences and enjoyed holidays at the Gupta’s expense.
The DA will not rest until the political architects of this corrupt project that has cost the Free State more than R336 million appear in the dock alongside the officials who continue to be thrown under the bus of accountability on their behalf.