Former free state agriculture head Peter Thabethe arrested

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Peter Thabethe. Picture: Dan Xangaza
Peter Thabethe. Picture: Dan Xangaza

Former Free State agriculture head, Peter Thabethe, has been arrested in connection with his involvement in the failed dairy farm project in Vrede.

Thabethe was the head of department at the time that now-Mineral Resources Minister Mosebenzi Zwane was the MEC for agriculture.

A senior security cluster official told City Press that Thabethe was arrested on Wednesday morning after a raid on his home in Bloemfontein early Wednesday morning.

Simultaneous raids were conducted on both the Gupta family’s Saxonwold mansions and Thabethe’s house in the Free State capital.

The charges Thabethe is likely to face include corruption, fraud, and money laundering.

According to a court application attached to a preservation order obtained by the Asset Forfeiture Unit in respect of the dairy project run by Gupta-linked company Estina, Thabethe helped the Gupta family and their business associates syphon off more than R200 million from his department.

The money was supposed to have been used to benefit poor black farmers under the province’s Zero Hunger programme.

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