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Zondo commission hears of fear, murders linked to Estina project

At least R200 million in public funds meant for farmers like Dhlamini was channelled into the project, which was linked to the controversial Gupta family.

A screengrab of Ephraim Makhosini Dhlamini giving testimony at the state capture inquiry on 24 July 2019.

JOHANNESBURG - The state capture commission of inquiry has heard about fear and murders linked to the Estina Dairy Farm projects and the police’s alleged inaction when death threats were reported to them.

This was the evidence of emerging farmer Ephraim Dhlamini when he testified at the public hearings in Parktown on Wednesday.

At least R200 million in public funds meant for farmers like Dhlamini was channelled into the project, which was linked to the controversial Gupta family.

• We lost trust in Mkhwebane, Estina dairy farm beneficiary tells inquiry

Speaking through a translator, Dhlamini explained how he had received death threats for speaking out against the Estina Dairy Farm corruption and how others were murdered.

“There is another farmer who was shot from a black car and he was buried, but the case did not proceed.”

Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo asked Dhlamini about the video evidence he had about these threats on his life.

“After you had shown the station commander this video and had a discussion, did he follow up in any way with you or sent any of his police officers to take this issue further?”

Dhlamini said this was not the case.

He said the community lived in fear.

GOVT OFFICIALS WITHHOLDING CRUCIAL INFO

Zondo expressed dismay at how senior officials in government who possessed vital information about corruption had ignored his calls to testify.

When thanking Dhlamini, he said there were many people - some in high position in government - who had a lot of information related to state capture.

“Who despite my calls are not coming forward to tell the commission and the nation what they know,” Zondo said.

Zondo questioned the motives of these people.

“They would all pretend and like everybody to believe that they support the work of the commission, and yet they withhold very crucial information that is relevant to what the commission is investigating,” he said.

Dhlamini told the commission that the community wanted matters related to the project resolved.

WATCH: Estina dairy farm beneficiaries give testimony at inquiry