NEWS
12/02/2018 06:50 SAST | Updated 12/02/2018 06:50 SAST

Mkhwebane Summoned To Parly Over Vrede Dairy Farm Report Controversy

MPs want Mkhwebane to explain remarks about aspects of her investigation.

Mike Hutchings / Reuters
Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane listens during a briefing at Parliament in Cape Town, South Africa October 19, 2016. Picture taken October 19, 2016. REUTERS/Mike Hutchings

Public Protector Busiswe Mkhwebane has been summoned to appear before Parliament to account for her controversial statements regarding the Vrede Dairy Farm, News24 reported.

Mkhwebane reportedly said she did not have the capacity or resources to investigate information from the #GuptaLeaks. Parliament's portfolio committee on justice and correctional services' chairperson Dr Mathole Motshekga reportedly said the committee needed "clarity" on her remarks and was "extremely concerned" about them.

"We have further noted with grave concern allegations of her office suppressing some evidence. This type of allegations only tarnishes the good image of the office of the Public Protector," Motshekga reportedly said.

She will appear in Parliament on Wednesday.

Mkhwebane's predecessor, Thuli Madonsela, was asked to investigate the Vrede Dairy Farm scheme four years ago. The #GuptaLeaks revealed that R220-million meant for the project was redirected to Gupta accounts abroad and was ultimately used to pay for the family's wedding in 2013.

The scheme was supposed to empower black farmers in the Free State.

But Mkhwebane's final report was controversial because it did not target the Gupta-linked company in charge of running the project, Estina, or the Gupta family. Instead, Mkhwebane recommended that Free State premier and current ANC secretary-general Ace Magashule should take action against those officials involved, even though he was also implicated.

The report noted that key issues were not investigated due to capacity constraints, according to TimesLive.

The Sunday Times reported that Mkhwebane ignored evidence presented to her which implicated former Free State agriculture MEC, now mineral resources minister, Mosebenzi Zwane. Zwane reportedly signed off on the project.

Mkhwebane reportedly said the evidence related to Zwane was not relevant as it was not part of the official complaint, sources told the Sunday Times.

Her report was called a whitewash by the DA and the EFF said it was a "cover-up" designed to help Magashule, according to Eyewitness News.