Public Protector’s ‘disgraceful’ Vrede farm report to be taken on review

Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane Picture: Morapedi Mashashe
Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane Picture: Morapedi Mashashe

The Democratic Alliance party’s federal council has decided to take the Public Protector’s report on the controversial dealings around Vrede dairy farm under review.

Speaking to the media at a press briefing in Cape Town, Democratic Alliance leader Mmusi Maimane labelled the report as “absolutely disgraceful”.

“There are manifold omissions in the report, and failures to investigate even that which is in the public domain,” he said.

Maimane said that Free State Premier and ANC secretary-general Ace Magashule and Mineral Resources Minister of Mosebenzi Zwane have gotten off “unscathed in what was a scheme that they conceived, planned and executed, along with the Guptas, to defraud the public of hundreds of millions of rand”.

Following the release of the report last week, some of the main findings included that members of the Gupta family were not implicated in any way, even though it was found that a huge portion of the money that was invested into the farm went to the family. The leaked emails known as #Guptaleaks had indicated that R30 million was used to fund the lavish Sun City wedding.

Read: ‘We’re no closer to seeing justice’ – Maimane on Vrede dairy report

The report also recommended that Magashule, as premier of the Free State, was ordered to institute “disciplinary action” against government officials who were implicated.

Maimane said today that the report was a bitter disappoint to the DA, as they “expected some form of real justice”.

“Therefore, after consultation with our legal team, the DA has decided to take the Public Protector’s report on judicial review. Our lawyers are currently drafting papers and we hope to launch this application later this week,” he said.

Maimane also discussed what had been a point of contention for the party, the “imminent” vote of no confidence in Cape Town’s Mayor, Patricia de Lille, which he said will go ahead as planned on Thursday. De Lille, who had been accused of corruption, asked for a secret ballot in the motion of no confidence against her to take place.

“While the situation is unprecedented and painful to all in the DA, the time has come for a fresh leadership team in the City to take that caucus forward and restore the faith of the public in what has been the crown jewel of DA governments until recently,” he said.

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