AS IT HAPPENED | All provinces declined in dairy farming, Thabethe tells #StateCaptureInquiry on Estina investigation

2019-10-04 09:55

The judicial commission of inquiry into state capture is expected to continue with testimony from former Free State agriculture head Peter Thabethe, related to the Estina dairy farm project in Vrede.

- Live stream courtesy of SABC News

Raymond Zondo chairs the state capture inquiry

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Last Updated at 22:46
04 Oct 14:57
Follow the rest of the commission on the Live Stream:

04 Oct 14:56

Gcabashe says it's unclear whether Estina also contributed to the project.  

She also wants clarity on why payments were made after the project was cancelled

04 Oct 14:54
Zondo wants to know where the money is that Estina put into the project

04 Oct 14:51

Gcabashe returns to the money that Estina received.  

R60m paid after cancellation of the contract.  

Total dispersed is over R280m, says Gcabashe

04 Oct 14:47
Thabethe says his department earned an unqualified audit

04 Oct 14:44
Adv Gcabashe is now dealing with the monthly reports based on the amounts on money that was transferred to this project, Thabethe confirms that indeed these amounts were paid and that the proof of payments were made available to him. Tweet from @StateCaptureCom

04 Oct 14:42
Gcabashe highlights incomplete forms on amounts spent on the Vrede Dairy project

04 Oct 14:37

Writing Vrede Diary under name of transferee could not be correct, says Zondo.  

Thabethe concedes that point

04 Oct 14:35
Zondo takes over questioning, wants Thabethe to explain the funding that was paid

04 Oct 14:34
Zondo cautions Gcabashe on her line of thinking

04 Oct 14:32

Thabethe says he wouldn't know the details.  

Gcabashe counters that he is the accounting officer

04 Oct 14:30

Gcabashe says the naming policy is misleading.  

Thabethe says that the auditing was done on the financials

04 Oct 14:29
Thabethe says that the name of Vrede Diary instead of Estina is because the name of the project is Vrede

04 Oct 14:24
Thabethe agrees that the amounts are correct

04 Oct 14:23
Gcabashe goes through a list of payments for the project

04 Oct 14:22
R130m was paid in one year for the project, says Gcabashe

04 Oct 14:20

R34.9m, R30m amounts paid 10 days apart, says Gcabashe.  

R19m is the third payment, eight days later

04 Oct 14:10
Thabethe can't identify which tractors were abandoned

04 Oct 14:09
Gcabashe says that there are two separate sets of tractors, and Thabethe agrees

04 Oct 14:07
Thabethe insists that the department does not have tractors

04 Oct 14:06
Debate on tractors supplied to farmers

04 Oct 14:03
Thabethe disputes the cost of the project

04 Oct 14:01
The Judicial Commission of Inquiry into allegations of State Capture, Corruption and Fraud in the Public Sector including Organs of State is set to continue

04 Oct 13:00
Lunch adjournment. Join us again at 14:00

04 Oct 12:57

There's no clear indication in the feasibility study on the source of water, says Gcabashe.  

Thabethe disputes that point  

04 Oct 12:56
Thabethe agrees with Gcabashe that water is critical, but says the eastern Free State is not arid

04 Oct 12:52
Zondo says the argument of milk transport could have been solved at a lower cost than the R300m in three years

04 Oct 12:50

The issue of milk was an issue of food security, says Thabethe.  

"People who sell milk are price takers."

04 Oct 12:48
Thabethe says a study indicated that the rate of decline of dairy farms means that the country would have to import milk

04 Oct 12:46
Zondo wants Thabethe to explain why government continued to support a business that wasn't viable

04 Oct 12:44
Thabethe admits that the coastal provinces were better than the inland provinces, but that Free State was the best of the inland provinces

04 Oct 12:43
The project was going to built with a government grant, says Thabethe

04 Oct 12:42

Zondo says you wouldn't go into a business sector that had driven away more than 50%.  

"What was you solution?" Zondo asks

04 Oct 12:41
Free State declined by 57%, other provinces declined by more than 57%, says Thabethe

04 Oct 12:39
The entire country declined in dairy farming, says Thabethe

04 Oct 12:38

In six years, the situation in the Free State was that the number of milk producers went down by half, says Zondo.  

I accept that statement, says Thabethe

04 Oct 12:37
But Thabethe says: We had an understanding that the eastern Free State is the highest rainfall area

04 Oct 12:36
Gcabashe says the cost of milk production inland is higher due to higher input costs

04 Oct 12:35
Dairy farming was doing well and then we started to see a decline, says Thabethe

04 Oct 12:33
Thabethe now talks about the presentation that he made to Department of Agriculture and Fishery,he adds that the first R30 million that was paid was supposed to do the larger. (Feasibility study) Tweet from @StateCaptureCom

04 Oct 12:30
R30m was paid for larger feasibility study (Phase 1), says Thabethe

04 Oct 12:29
Thabethe says he signed off on the feasibility study

04 Oct 12:25
After listening to Thabethe justifying his position, Gcabashe tells Zondo she will not labour that point and move on

04 Oct 12:21
You are at complete opposite ends of the spectrum, Gcabashe tells Thabethe

04 Oct 12:17

Gcabashe says Thabethe accompanied the investigators to the Vrede Dairy farm.  

Thabethe can't remember.  

Gcabashe directs his attention to the evidence for the visit

04 Oct 12:15
Thabethe is struggling to explain his input at the time

04 Oct 12:12

Zondo asks Thabethe to accept that Estina was prepared to speak to the investigators.  

Thabethe concedes that point

04 Oct 12:11
Evidence leader advocate Leah Gcabashe changes focus to email indicating that if the department approves, Kamal Vasram would be happy to speak to the Treasury investigators

04 Oct 12:08

Deputy Chief Justice Zondo: "Why would they National Treasury investigators would be so interested into intellectual property".

Thabethe laughing..."I don't want to speculate Chair because the answer I'll be giving you, I would be speculation." Tweet from @StateCaptureCom

04 Oct 12:07
Zondo concedes that the lawyers can confer during the lunch break

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