Zondo ‘shocked’ no due diligence followed in Estina project

Former head of the agriculture department in the Free State Peter Thabethe made the concession at the state capture commission of inquiry in Parktown.

A YouTube screengrab shows Peter Thabethe, the former head of the Free State Agriculture Department, at the state capture inquiry on 20 August 2019.

PRETORIA - Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo on Tuesday questioned why the former head of the agriculture department in the Free State would put taxpayers’ money at risk after he conceded to “not doing his homework” in the Estina Dairy Farm project.

Peter Thabethe made the concession at the state capture commission of inquiry in Parktown on Tuesday.

Thabethe signed off on the agreement to fund the project in Vrede, but it emerged he had done so without having conducted the required due diligence.

Zondo was shocked when he heard that Thabethe, as the accounting officer, had not done what was expected of him.

"Can you see the risk that you put the department in by not doing the risk assessment? The homework that we talked about," Zondo said.

"In terms of this agreement, you are expecting Estina to pay more than R200 million into the project, but you don’t even know if they’ve got a cent in their account."

WATCH: State capture inquiry proceedings on 20 August 2019