Africa

Free State premier hands over controversial Vrede Dairy farm project to rightful owners | News24



  • On Friday 65 folks from communities in Vrede have been named beneficiaries of the controversial Vrede Dairy farm undertaking. 
  • The undertaking began in 2012 as a partnership with Gupta-linked firm Estina, and was used to funnel hundreds of thousands into their pockets. 
  • The beneficiaries have been given 51% of the farm’s possession, whereas the remaining proportion might be given to a strategic accomplice. 

Free State Premier Sisi Ntombela says the notorious Vrede Dairy farm undertaking has lastly been handed over to its rightful homeowners, after 65 neighborhood members have been named beneficiaries within the undertaking. 

On Friday, Ntombela led the handover programme on the farm.

The farm made nationwide headlines and have become an emblem of state seize after Gupta-linked firm Estina funneled hundreds of thousands into their very own pockets, utilizing the dairy undertaking which was purported to be a partnership with the provincial authorities. 

“If it was possible I was going to ululate, because I am very excited about this project… the real beneficiaries are getting what they deserve. I have checked them and discussed with them, and I have seen that most of them are the poorest of the poorest, and I have seen them crying with excitement for them to get the land,” mentioned Ntombela. 

News24 beforehand reported that Estina was recognized in early 2012 as the corporate that may accomplice with the Free State authorities within the dairy farm undertaking. 

At the time, the plan was for Estina and the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development to inject a R500-million funding into the undertaking.

In August 2014, the Estina contract was cancelled, however between December 2014 and May 2016, Estina obtained additional funds totalling R130 million, News24 reported. 

Several folks, together with former agriculture MEC Mosebenzi Zwane, are at the moment going through cash laundering associated prices that stem from the matter. 

ALSO READ | Mkhwebane on Vrede dairy project: Ace Magashule and co ‘failed’ to hold state functions to account

As a part of the undertaking, black rising farmers have been promised 5 cows every as a part of an empowerment scheme. 

Following a court docket order, 65 beneficiaries made up of neighborhood members have been given 51% of the farm’s possession. The remaining proportion might be given to a strategic accomplice which is but to be recognized.

Ntombela mentioned that they might be calling on bids for the accomplice.  

Beneficiaries vetted.

“We are going to advertise and make sure that those who are interested must apply, but we must be sure that they are people who have skills, who understand farming and who are able to assist the other beneficiaries.

Ntombela added that they had vetted beneficiaries to make sure there was no fraud. 

“When we do interviews, we’re going to ensure that once we do interviews, we get actual folks that can help these beneficiaries to ensure that this undertaking turns into stronger than even earlier than,” she said

“We had 85 beneficiaries earlier than, and now there are 65 as a result of we went by means of each particular person and checked their IDs, and we found that some have been lecturers and a few have been working in municipalities and a few have been ex-councillors, so we dropped them. All of the beneficiaries left are the poorest of the poor. Some are from farms others labored on farms they usually know farming so that they know what they’re doing,” she said. 

The Free State Department of Agriculture has invested more than R200 million in the farm.

The beneficiaries will be working on 222 hectares of land with 10 tractors, and nine horses which will be used for patrolling the property. 

“From the place I’m standing, all 65 beneficiaries are homeowners and are now not beneficiaries. They are on the spot millionaires, when you take a look at the magnitude of the funding, whenever you take a look at the undertaking. So they personal this land, the livestock and tools,” Agriculture and Rural Development MEC Thembeni Nxangisa. 

He said farm land would also be used to grow produce and expand. 

“At the second, they produce and promote milk on the town, however they’re now going to pasteurise the milk as a result of they do not make sufficient cash by promoting uncooked milk.”


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