In a statement, the opposition party described the NPA’s reasons for provisionally withdrawing the case against the Estina accused as “wholly unconvincing”.
DA member of parliament (MP) Glynnis Breytenbach, has blamed the NPA’s provisional withdrawal of the Estina Case on a lack of resources at the organisation.
“The NPA has no forensic accounting capacity, and never has had,” said Breytenbach, who is a former NPA senior prosecutor.
On Wednesday, 28 November 2018, the NPA decided to provisionally withdraw the case against the accused in the Estina dairy farm scam.
The organisation had not completed their investigation into the matter and felt they couldn’t manage to submit an indictment to the Bloemfontein Magistrate’s court by the Friday, 30 November 2018 deadline. The DA further criticised the decision for being “flimsy at best, and wholly unconvincing.”
Breytenbach said that this was likely due to the structure of investigation operations at the NPA. “This function has always been outsourced to private companies, by the SAPS [SA Police Service],” she said in a press statement. “This is a function of SAPS. State capture is a crime committed against the people of South Africa.”
Eight people are accused of stealing R250 million linked to the Estina farm in Vrede, Free State. According to the Mail and Guardian the farm was meant to benefit black farmers by giving them 51% shares. Eight people face charges of fraud, theft, conspiracy to commit fraud and theft.
The accused in the matter include former Oakbay CEO Nazeem Howa, Varun Gupta, the nephew of the Gupta brothers, former Sahara Computers CEO Ashu Chawla, Estina director Kamal Vasram and three Free State provincial government officials Peter Thabethe, Sylvia Dlamini and Takisi Masiteng.
They were originally expected back at court on Tuesday, 4 December 2018.