Daniel Friedman
3 minute read
24 Jul 2019
1:16 pm

In Vrede, if you mention Mosebenzi Zwane you’ll be ‘chased at night and killed’ – Dhlamini

Daniel Friedman

The witness alleges that several of the supposed beneficiaries of the Estina Dairy Farm project have been assassinated.

Former mineral resources minister Mosebenzi Zwane. Picture: Gallo Images/Sowetan/Veli Nhlapo

Ephraim Dhlamini, a resident at Thembalihle township in Vrede, said in his second day of testimony at the Zondo commission of inquiry into state capture that he had a video proving there had been threats on his life.

Dhlamini was a supposed beneficiary of the botched Estina Dairy Farm project, which saw over R200 million allegedly looted by Free State officials and the controversial Gupta family.

In the video, which he offered to make available for the commission, one person says he must be killed and another offers to personally do the job, Dhlamini said.

He further said he regretted giving a copy to the Hawks, as they had so far done nothing about it and had not yet taken his statement. Dhlamini claims to know the person who threatens to kill him in the video, adding that he wanted to now investigate it himself after getting no response from law enforcement.

Dhlamini said the threats had led him to carry a gun with the intention of fighting back against anyone who may want to kill him.

He added that he also played the video in a meeting with Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwabane, who he said during earlier testimony he did not trust to hold those responsible for the corruption that surrounded the Estina Dairy Farm project. Dhlamini alleged that Mkhwebane did not speak to the beneficiaries of the project when conducting her investigation.

Commission chair Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo then brought up evidence that had been submitted which appeared to suggest that police had not investigated the alleged threats on Dhlamini’s life.

READ MORE: Mkhwebane never spoke to Vrede dairy farm beneficiaries in her probe, inquiry hears

It is “concerning that people’s lives are being threatened and the police is not taking action,” he said.

He also committed to finding out what the Hawks have done in reaction to the reported death threats.

According to Dhlamini, some of the other beneficiaries of the project have been threatened and are too afraid to speak out, and others have actually been killed, mentioning Moses Tshake and Philemon Ngwenya, who he alleges was “threatened to his face” by provincial government employee Thuto Kganye prior to his death.

Dhlamini described Kganye as an impimpi (spy) for Zwane.

“In Vrede, when you mention the name of Mosebenzi Zwane and the Vrede dairy farm, you won’t sleep in your house,” Dhlamini said. “You will be chased at night and killed.”

According to Dhlamini, a farmer from Warden was also killed after shots were fired from a black vehicle.

The witness wants the Estina Dairy Farm project to be shut down, as its supposed beneficiaries are living in fear. Most of these beneficiaries have lost interest in the project amid fears for their lives.

As his testimony concluded, Zondo thanked Dhlamini for testifying amid the alleged death threats, adding that some government officials, while alleging to support the commission, will not testify for fear of losing their jobs.

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