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Mkhwebane calls for discpline of all implicated in Estina scandal

Advocate Busisiwe Mkhwebane has found the FS Agriculture Department guilty of gross misconduct and maladministration for its handling of the project near Vrede.

FILE: Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane. Picture: EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - The Public Protector has ordered Premier Ace Magashule to institute disciplinary processes against officials implicated in the Estina Dairy Farm scandal.

Advocate Busisiwe Mkhwebane has found the Free State Agriculture Department guilty of gross misconduct and maladministration for its handling of the project near Vrede.

The dairy farm project is also the subject of a Hawks state capture investigation which saw the crime-fighting unit raid Magashule’s office as well as the department last month.

The Public Protector's investigation did not cover the Guptas' involvement in the project or how the funds allegedly syphoned from the scheme were spent.

The Public Protector has found that there was no management or monitoring of the Estina Dairy Farm project in relation to budget, expenditure control and performance.

The report further says the agreement between the Free State Agriculture Department and Estina was invalid because the proper procurement process was not followed.

Mkhwebane also found that the accounting officer did not maintain appropriate measures to ensure that the funds transferred to the project were in fact used for their intended purposes.

She has ordered Magashule to initiate disciplinary steps against identified officials and report back to her.

Mkhwebane did, however, note an improvement of the management of the farm since it was handed over to the control of the Free State development corporation.

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