Get more Mail & Guardian
Subscribe or Login

Mkhwebane’s Vrede report ruled ‘unconstitutional’ and ‘invalid’

On Monday, the Pretoria high court declared Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane’s report on the Vrede dairy project unconstitutional and invalid.

Judge Ronel Tolmay ruled in favour of the Democratic Alliance and the Council for the Advancement of the South African Constitution (Casac) and set the report aside. Tolmay reserved judgment on costs.

This is the second report by Mkhwebane to be set aside. The first of her reports to be set aside is the one which dealt with an apartheid-era bailout to a bank later bought by Absa, Mkhwebane instructed Parliament to remove the Reserve Bank’s constitutional mandate to keep inflation in check. The Reserve Bank tore into Mkhwebane in response, calling her attempt to rewrite the Constitution “ill-informed and reckless”, and a threat to the poor.

READ MORE: Reserve Bank: The Public Protector is wrong, irrational, and dangerous

The Estina dairy, a farm in Vrede in the Free State, has links to the Gupta family and their associates. As part of the Vrede project, one hundred black farmers were promised five cows each in the interests of empowerment, however they were never received. Instead, at least R200-million of public funds meant for the farmers was paid to the Gupta family via the farm, which in turn ended up contributing to funding the infamous family wedding held at Sun City in 2013.

READ MORE: Vrede: Court hears Public Protector ‘acted incompetently’

Mkhwebane’s initial report on the farm — which Casac alleged in April last year was based on an altered version of a draft report compiled by Thuli Madonsela — provoked public outrage after it failed to make any findings against Ace Magashule, who was the Free State premier during the establishment of the farm, and Mosebenzi Zwane, the MEC of agriculture at that time.

In the application filed in October last year, the DA accused Mkhwebane of being “not prudent” in her report. “In the absence of any explanation from the public protector, Casac submits that the only possible inference, which the court should not hesitate to draw, is that she deliberately curtailed the report’s findings and remedial action in an effort to protect department officials and thereby acted for an improper purpose and in bad faith,” Casac executive secretary Lawson Naidoo said in the supplementary affidavit filed in said at the time.

Both Naidoo and the public protector’s spokesperson Oupa Segalwe have reserved comment until they have completed reviewing the judgement themselves.

Subscribe for R500/year

Thanks for enjoying the Mail & Guardian, we’re proud of our 36 year history, throughout which we have delivered to readers the most important, unbiased stories in South Africa. Good journalism costs, though, and right from our very first edition we’ve relied on reader subscriptions to protect our independence.

Digital subscribers get access to all of our award-winning journalism, including premium features, as well as exclusive events, newsletters, webinars and the cryptic crossword. Click here to find out how to join them and get a 57% discount in your first year.

Aaisha Dadi Patel
Aaisha Dadi Patel
Aaisha Dadi Patel was previously a member of the M&G’s online team. She holds an MA in Media Studies from the University of the Witwatersrand

Related stories

WELCOME TO YOUR M&G

If you’re reading this, you clearly have great taste

If you haven’t already, you can subscribe to the Mail & Guardian for less than the cost of a cup of coffee a week, and get more great reads.

Already a subscriber? Sign in here

Advertising

Subscribers only

DA’s egregious sexual harassment case finally begins

The party is accused of protecting a councillor, who’s also implicated in R1.2m graft

The ANC, DA and EFF ‘oblivious’ to climate crisis —...

The Climate Justice Charter Movement has critiqued the manifestos of the main parties contesting the local government elections and found them ‘shallow’

More top stories

Bird flu outbreak on Dyer Island causing mass deaths

The island hosts the vulnerable African penguins, endangered bank cormorant and roseate tern

Countries bear cross-border responsibility for harmful effects of climate change,...

The UN committee has been accused of ‘turning its back’ on the children who filed a groundbreaking legal complaint with it against five countries

Magashule files notice to have corruption charges dropped

Counsel for the suspended ANC secretary general tells court the former Free State premier falls outside category of who can be charged for corrupt activities

R1.5-billion in funding approved for riot-hit businesses

Agencies emphasise that speed is crucial to rescuing firms affected by July’s unrest
Advertising

press releases

Loading latest Press Releases…
×