WATCH: Those who defended the Vrede dairy farm

Photo_Web_Milk_060416

File: The price of milk is set to increase in May as dairy farmers were currently facing production shortages.

File: The price of milk is set to increase in May as dairy farmers were currently facing production shortages.

Photo_Web_Milk_060416

File: The price of milk is set to increase in May as dairy farmers were currently facing production shortages.

File: The price of milk is set to increase in May as dairy farmers were currently facing production shortages.

JOHANNESBURG - Senior Hawks and National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) officials met before Friday&39;s raids at the Free State Agriculture Department and Premier&39;s offices.

The raids are linked to a probe into the infamous Estina Dairy Farm in Vrede.

It is suspected the project was used to siphon millions of rand from the provincial government.

Last year, the ANC Youth League (ANCYL) in the Free State defended the dairy project.

eNCA’s Thulasizwe Simelane spoke to ANCYL Free State chair Makalo Mohale at the time.

In July 2017, Minerals Minister Mosebenzi Zwane said he had no knowledge of the Gupta family&39;s alleged dealings in the Vrede dairy project.

Zwane was the province&39;s Agriculture MEC during the controversial project.

Money was reportedly laundered through the project to finance the lavish Gupta wedding at Sun City.

North West Premier Supra Muhamapelo on Friday defended Zwane, saying he is focused on pushing the agenda of the poor.

Last year, Free State Premier Ace Magashule insisted the Vrede dairy farm was an asset to his province, despite it being at the centre of controversy. 

He told eNCA&39;s Xoli Mgambi he does not know of any involvement by the Gupta family in the project or of benefits they derived from it, including the alleged R30-million used on the 2013 wedding.

Magashule also wanted to know why his son is being singled out for working for the controversial Gupta family.

Speaking to eNCA on the sidelines of the ANC&39;s National Policy Conference (NPC) at Nasrec, he wanted to know what was wrong with politicians&39; family members working in the private sector.

"How many leaders&39; families are working for different companies," asked Magashule. "Why do you single out this young boy?"

Speaking to the BBC in August last year, Duduzane Zuma explained why he ended up in business with the Gupta family.

He told the television channel he had no regrets about meeting the family.