AS IT HAPPENED | Zwane took church choir to India for 'farmer training' instead of Vrede dairy beneficiaries, #StateCaptureInquiry hears

2019-07-23 16:00

The judicial commission of inquiry into state capture is continuing to hear testimony related to the Gupta-linked Estina dairy farm project in Vrede, in the Free State.


(Courtesy of SABC)

Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo

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Last Updated at 20:10
23 Jul 17:12
The commission is adjourned until tomorrow.

23 Jul 17:09

23 Jul 17:09

Dhlamini: On the far, he saw a tractor and equipment used with the tractor. He also saw a poisonous plant and the carcass of a cow.

The area where the milking of the cows was, the cows looked very old.

23 Jul 17:07
Dhlamini talks about a visit to the farms with DA leader Mmusi Maimane. Dhlamini was denied access.

23 Jul 17:03

23 Jul 16:56

23 Jul 16:55
They were calling me names and people were saying I was DA. He says he affirmed his support for the ANC but wanted to know the reason for calling him, says Dhlamini.

23 Jul 16:50

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23 Jul 16:25

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23 Jul 16:04

Zondo calls a short adjournment, before settling in for the final stretch of testimony. Back in 10 minutes.

23 Jul 15:58

23 Jul 15:43

23 Jul 15:41

Dhlamini says at a fourth meeting, Meyer told them that the Free State Development Corporation would take over the project. Gcabashe surmises this must have taken place some time after August 2014.

23 Jul 15:35

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23 Jul 15:28

23 Jul 15:23

Dhlamini says he held a caucus meeting with the other farming members and he advised them not to hand over their ID books, but it seems they did not take his advice and submitted their IDs. He says he then also followed suit and submitted his as well. 

Dhlamini confirms that Ms Alta Meyer, then-regional agriculture director, was overseeing the process of collecting the IDs. He says Meyer presented documents that needed to be signed at a later meeting.

23 Jul 15:06

23 Jul 14:53

Dhlamini tells the commission that Zwane's father was a pastor and the choir was from his church.

Dhlamini says they didn't stay for long, because they ate chillies or chilli sauces or whatever there "and they got sick, they had runny tummies"...

23 Jul 14:53

Dhlamini tells Zondo instead of taking the Vrede farmers to India, for the promised training, Zwane took members of his church choir. Zondo says he assumes they weren't taken there for farmer training, but Dhlamini says they were taken there to be trained on the dairy project.

23 Jul 14:48

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23 Jul 14:27

23 Jul 14:26

Dhlamini says the three farmers' representatives who made up this committee were meant to regularly update the farmers on the progress of the dairy farm project, but not to make any decisions on their behalf. Dhlamini says the representatives did not provide any updates. 

Dhlamini named June Mahlaba as the chairperson of this committee, chosen to represent the farmers. 

23 Jul 14:14

23 Jul 14:12

Back from the break, Advocate Gcabashe continues leading Dhlamini's evidence.

23 Jul 13:10

Zondo adjourns proceedings for lunch. Back at 14:00.

23 Jul 13:10

23 Jul 13:09

23 Jul 13:07

23 Jul 13:03

Dhlamini also said there were promises of trips to India for training, for some of the farmers. 

23 Jul 13:01

Dhlamini says they were told about the project, and "it sounded like a very good project, we were happy with it and we thought it would yield good results. But others were suspicious because of the fact that Mr Motaung was part of the meeting, to a point that Mr Mosebenzi Zwane did enquire as to how many who don't approve of Mr Motaung..." 

Dhlamini says a few people who did not approve of Motaung, raised their hands, and Mr Ncongwane (the next witness) was one of the people who disapproved of Motaung and raised their hands. 

23 Jul 12:51

23 Jul 12:50

23 Jul 12:46

Dhlamini says there were almost 100 community representatives at the meeting, which was addressed by Zwane. Some were pig farmers, cattle farmers, and poultry farmers. The meeting was opened by Vrede mayor, John Motaung, says Dhlamini.

23 Jul 12:38

Dhlamini says he knows Mosebenzi Zwane, and even knows his father. 

Dhlamini says he and the other farmers are the "eyes and ears" of Zwane in the area. 

23 Jul 12:36

Dhlamini says he is the chairperson of the African Farmers Association, which represents small farmers in the area. Whenever there are opportunities related to agriculture, he represents the association, which is an intermediary between the small-scale farmers in the area and the agriculture department. 

Dhlamini tells Zondo there are about 120 farmers in the association. Its membership grew from about 82 members the previous year. Dhlamini says he was there when the Estina project was initiated.

23 Jul 12:31

23 Jul 12:30
Dhlamini says he is self-employed - he is a farmer and has "52 cattle in the homage of the municipality". 

23 Jul 12:25

Dhlamini mentions a number of government officials the beneficiaries had met with, including Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane (twice). Dhlamini says they also met with officials from the Hawks.

23 Jul 12:21

Proceedings resume once again.

Dhlamini will be delivering his testimony in isiZulu, with the help of the translator.

23 Jul 11:59

Zondo calls for another brief adjournment, so that evidence leader Advocate Leah Gcabashe can sort out some procedural issues with the witness, Dhlamini.

23 Jul 11:56

Back from the break, one of the beneficiaries of the Estina dairy farm project, Ephraim Makhosini Dhlamini, is now on the stand and takes the oath, with the help of an interpreter. The interpreter was previously sworn in, and will be assisting Dhlamini for the duration of his testimony.

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