Witness worried he may be shot if he drops Gupta dairy farm names

Free State businessman Willie Basson. Picture: Screenshot.

A Free State businessman alleges that some of those responsible for channeling funds from the farm to the Sun City wedding now sit in parliament.

A businessman contracted to do construction work on the Estina Dairy Farm in the Free State town of Vrede, Willie Basson, told the Zondo commission on Friday that he was told the money to pay for the Gupta wedding at Sun City came from the farm.

He would not mention the names of the people who gave him this information, although reports of how the money was spent at Sun City have been widely publicised.

In his second day of testimony, speaking in Afrikaans with a new interpreter after concerns were raised on Thursday about the former interpreter’s ability, Basson alleged that prominent politicians were involved in siphoning funds from the Vrede dairy project to the Guptas.

He said he needed to speak to people before he could reveal the names of those he alleges were involved.

He claimed some of the people who channeled the money from the dairy project to the Gupta wedding now sat in parliament.

Basson also expressed fears that those he might implicate might “shoot him”, and that he therefore had to make sure of his facts before coming forward with names.

He offered for the commission to either come to Vrede to obtain this information or for him to come back to testify with the full information in writing.

He said that while he had heard of violent threats to other whistle-blowers involved in the project, he personally had never received any threats.

Basson said he believed the Estina Dairy Farm project had a budget of R500 million but only R200 million was used.

The lavish Sun City Gupta wedding of Vega Gupta to Aakash Jahajgarhia took place in 2013, and caused controversy after guests for the wedding from India, including members of the Gupta family, gained permission to land their plane at the Waterkloof Air Force Base.

The commission continues.

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