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Public Protector's report into Estina dairy farm set aside

The application was brought by the DA and the Council for the Advancement of the South African Constitution (Casac) who stated that Advocate Busisiwe Mkhwebane's report was a whitewash as implicated politicians were never interviewed.

Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane. Picture: @PublicProtector/Twitter

PRETORIA - The North Gauteng High Court has declared the Public Protector’s report into the Estina dairy farm project in Vrede as unconstitutional and invalid and set it aside.

The application was brought by the DA and the Council for the Advancement of the South African Constitution (Casac) who stated that Advocate Busisiwe Mkhwebane's report was a whitewash as implicated politicians were never interviewed.

At least R200 million in public funds meant for emerging black farmers in the Free State town allegedly flowed to Estina - a company with links to the Gupta family.

Some of the money was apparently used to pay for the Gupta’s infamous Sun City wedding in 2013.

When Mkhwebane took office in October 2016 she inherited a provisional report on the dairy project from her predecessor.

Last year Mkhwebane released her report highlighting procurement irregularities, gross negligence and maladministration related to the controversial project.

The High Court on Monday said the Public Protector acted irrationally by neglecting a complaint laid in May 2016 regarding the project.

The report itself has been deemed invalid and judgment on costs has been reserved.

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