We lost trust in Mkhwebane - Estina beneficiary tells Zondo Commission

We lost trust in Mkhwebane - Estina beneficiary tells Zondo Commission

- One of the intended beneficiaries of the Estina dairy farm project has told the Zondo Commission how they lost faith in the Public Protector

- This was because Busisiwe Mkhwebane allegedly did not consult the beneficiaries during her investigation

- One of the beneficiaries, Ephraim Dhlamini, questioned how Mkhwebane could have made her findings without speaking to them

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Ephraim Dhlamini, one of the intended beneficiaries of the Estina dairy farm project, says that they no longer trust Busisiwe Mkhwebane as they feel they were left out of her investigation of the project.

Dhlamini made the statement on Wednesday while testifying before the Zondo Commission.

The Estina project was aimed at empowering small-scale farmers, but the majority of the R200 million allocated for the initiative ended up in the pockets of Gupta-linked companies and individuals.

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The High Court in Pretoria has since set aside the Public Protector's Estina report, ruling that it had not been adequately investigated, Briefly.co.za has gathered. 

Dhlamini claims that Mkhwebane failed to interview or consult any of the farmers who were meant to benefit from the project, according to Eyewitness News.

"She went there [to the Vrede dairy farm] but never came to see us," Dhlamini told the commission via a translator. 

Additionally, Dhlamini questioned how Mkhwebane could have arrived at the findings she did without speaking to the farmers involved in the initiative.

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This comes after new documents have revealed that several senior government officials connected to the project met with the Guptas at their Saxonwold residence in the lead-up to the project's launch. 

These include former Free State premier, Ace Magashule, and former agriculture minister, Tina Joemat-Peterson, among others.

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Source: Briefly.co.za

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