Editorials 14.7.2017 05:40 am

ANC and the Guptas stole farmer Eric’s dreams

Dairy cows on the farm during a site visit by the leader of the DA, Mmusi Maimane to the Vrede Dairy farm that was run by Gupta company Estina, 12 July 2017. It was intended to benefit the communiy but has been alleged to be a front for money laundering and also alleged to have been the source of funds for the Gupta wedding. Picture: Neil McCartney

Dairy cows on the farm during a site visit by the leader of the DA, Mmusi Maimane to the Vrede Dairy farm that was run by Gupta company Estina, 12 July 2017. It was intended to benefit the communiy but has been alleged to be a front for money laundering and also alleged to have been the source of funds for the Gupta wedding. Picture: Neil McCartney

Not only has he not seen any dividend – as one of a group of people who hold a majority shareholding in the farm – he has had to sell his own cows merely to survive.

The tsunami of relevations about state capture can leave you feeling overwhelmed. It’s hard to comprehend the scale of alleged looting of taxpayers’ money.

Because it is such an amorphous mass of alleged wrongdoing, it almost seems like a victimless crime. This week, we put a name and a face to a state capture victim. He is 54-year-old subsistence farmer Eric Kubheka from the Vrede area of the Free State. He was supposed to benefit from the ANC government’s promised economic transformation through a dairy farm project.

Not only has he not seen any dividend – as one of a group of people who hold a majority shareholding in the farm – he has had to sell his own cows merely to survive.

All this, while the Free State department of agriculture has spent more than R500 million on the project.

The amaBhungane investigative journalism unit revealed that of the money spent on the farm, more than R100 million was paid to companies linked to the Gupta family and sent to Dubai.

Even worse, R30 million of that money had allegedly found its way back to South Africa to pay for the lavish Gupta family wedding at Sun City in 2013.

The Guptas and their hundreds of guests wined and dined … and now Eric Kubheka wonders where the next meal is coming from for him and his family.

The farm is still sucking up more than R2 million a month in Free State government money and has failed as a business.

The person who needs to be held accountable for this is Gupta ally and Mineral Resources Minister Mosebenzi Zwane, who was the Free State MEC for agriculture at the time the farm was set up and the huge tranches of money were paid over to the Guptas.

Minister Zwane, you also need to tell Eric Kubheka why you stole his dreams.

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