The national and Free State ANC branches say the law must take its course in the Vrede Dairy matter, even if it means that the party’s new secretary general Ace Magashule could be implicated.
Specialised policing directorate, the Hawks, conducted search and seizure operations at outgoing Free State premier Ace Magashule’s office, as well as at the Department of Agriculture.
Magashule is set to step down in March after he was elected ANC secretary general at the party’s national elective conference in December.
The raids come after the National Prosecution Authority’s (NPA) Asset Forfeiture Unit (AFU) secured an order placing Krynaauwslust farm, near Vrede in the Free State, under curatorship.
The NPA is investigating allegations that the provincial government paid R220-million to the Guptas in what the AFU labelled “a scheme designed to defraud and steal monies from the department”.
The failed project took place under the leadership of then-rural development MEC Mosebenzi Zwane, who is now the Minister of Mineral Resources.
“The investigation must be fast-tracked so that whoever is implicated can be cleared or otherwise,” outgoing ANC national spokesperson Zizi Kodwa told News24.
One hundred black emerging farmers were promised five cows each as part of the empowerment scheme, but they never received them.
ANC Free State co-ordinator William Bulwane said the province stood by sentiments expressed by Ace Magashule last week, that the law should take its course.
“We must also acknowledge that the raid in the office of the premier and the Department of Agriculture is exactly what was supposed to happen,” he said to News24.
Bulwane said their job was to stand on the sidelines and wait for processes around their embattled outgoing premier and chairperson to unfold.
“No one even knows if he is going to be charged,” said the provincial co-ordinator, who once served as secretary on Magashule’s provincial executive committee.
“We are not worried, we find comfort in saying let everyone do what they are supposed to do. Let the Hawks do their job and we will take it from there,” Bulwane said.