South Africa: Public Protector - Controversial Vrede Dairy Report Completed Before Mkhwebane Took Office

Public Protector, Busisiwe Mkhwebane,
analysis

Appearing before MPs in Parliament on Tuesday, Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane received a grilling about her office's controversial report on the Vrede dairy farm, labelled a "whitewash" by opposition politicians. But Mkhwebane's defence was simple: she was not responsible for preparing the report. By the time Mkhwebane took office in January 2017, she says the report was already complete. By REBECCA DAVIS.

When Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane quietly released a report into the Vrede dairy scam in early February, it was greeted with some consternation. Absent from the report was any mention of the Gupta family, who are now wanted by the Hawks as a result of their involvement in the project. Also absent: any attempt to investigate the role that Free State provincial leaders Ace Magashule and Moswebenzi Zwane may have played in setting up the farm, which investigations have shown helped siphon off government funds into Gupta bank accounts.

But those hoping that Mkhwebane would have answers for these omissions were left disappointed after her parliamentary appearance on Tuesday morning.

Appearing before the justice committee, Mkhwebane told MPs that the report was completed by the time she took office in January 2017.

"The investigation was finalised in 2014,"...

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