South Africa

Zondo recommends Magashule be criminally investigated over Vrede dairy farm

In the commission’s final report, published on Wednesday night, it found that the disastrous deal had happened as a result of Ace Magashule’s pursuit of the Guptas’ agenda.

Suspended ANC secretary-general Ace Magashule appeared before the Bloemfontein High Court for a pre-trial of his corruption case on 10 June 2022. Picture:: Boikhutso Ntsoko/Eyewitness News

JOHANNESBURG – Suspended African National Congress (ANC) secretary-general Ace Magashule’s legal woes are stacking up.

In addition to the charges of fraud, corruption and money laundering he’s currently facing in connection with the Free State asbestos removal scandal, the state capture commission of inquiry has now also recommended that he be criminally investigated over his role in the Vrede dairy farm saga.

READ: Final state capture report in full

In the commission’s final report, published on Wednesday night, it found that the disastrous deal had happened as a result of Magashule’s pursuit of the Guptas’ agenda.

Commission chair, Chief Justice Raymond Zondo, in the report described the Vrede dairy farm project, which saw hundreds of millions of rands intended for poor black farmers channelled to the Guptas and their affiliates, as “a complete disaster”.

State Capture Commission Re… by Primedia Broadcasting

He went as far as saying that the evidence provided by the intended beneficiaries revealed they were duped “Nongqawuse style”, referencing the young prophetess who in 1856 convinced the AmaXhosa that if they slaughtered all their cattle and destroyed all their crops, an army of ancestors would rise from the sea and restore their prosperity.

They were told half-truths, he found, and were “plainly lied to by officials who promised the sky but did not give even a twinkle from its wide space”.

• Zondo: Guptas bagged R15.5bn in unlawful contracts, mostly from Eskom, Transnet
• ‘Many ills not yet uncovered’ – Zondo recommends special inquiry into Prasa

He put the lion’s share of the blame on former Free State Agriculture and Rural Development head, Peter Thabethe, whom he said had “dismally failed to do his job”. But he said that the project had also happened because the province’s then Agriculture and Rural Development MEC, Mosebenzi Zwane, and its then-premier, Magashule, were “pursuing the agenda of the Guptas”.

Zondo has recommended that the country’s law enforcement agencies institute criminal investigations against both men and that consideration be given to instituting civil proceedings against them to try and recover the hundreds of millions of rands that were lost.



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