Estina dairy project case back in court
The charges against the accused span a range of serious allegations including fraud, corruption and money laundering.
The project that was meant to uplift historically disadvantaged farmers in Vrede never took off. Picture: iStock
The charges against Zwane and his co-accused span a range of serious allegations including fraud, corruption and money laundering.
The charges are linked to a complex web of events surrounding the alleged misappropriation of funds from the Free State Department of Agriculture, which were intended for the establishment of a dairy farm project in Vrede.
According to reports, the primary objective of the project was to uplift historically disadvantaged farmers residing in Vrede.
However, a review of bank records revealed that no disbursements were made to benefit these recipients. Instead, the dairy farm functioned as a mere conduit through which funds were channelled to India.
Among the accused are prominent figures such as the former head of the Free State Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, Peter Thabethe, as well as the former chief financial officer, Seipati Dlamini. Additionally, the proceedings involve Ronica Ragavan, the former director of Islandsite, and eight other corporate entities.
The Vrede Dairy Project, initiated in 2012 on Krynaauwslust Farm, was established in collaboration with Estina, a Black Economic Empowerment firm, as part of the Mohoma-Mobung Agricultural Initiative led by the Free State government.
The land was allocated to Estina through a lease that spanned 99 years.