In a written parliamentary response‚ communications minister Ayanda Dlodlo told MPs that her department spent R988 689 on a single business breakfast briefing held on May 26 last year.
The breakfast was organised by the Gupta-owned The New Age newspaper in partnership with the SABC.
The last TNA business breakfast was held in Bloemfontein last month where they discussed youth development.
“The entities in the DoC portfolio did not spend on promotional events organised by the newspaper in question since 1 May 2014‚” Dlodlo added.
The spending happened under Dlodlo’s predecessor‚ Faith Muthambi‚ who is now the minister of public service and administration.
Reacting to the reply‚ DA spokesperson Phumzile Van Damme said it was no secret that the Gupta-owned newspaper is “propped up” by the millions it receives from government departments and state-owned companies that sponsor its breakfast briefings‚ buy bulk copies of its newspaper‚ and spend “disproportionally” on adverts in the newspaper.
“Over the last few months‚ it has become patently clear that not only TNA‚ but also ANN7‚ are nothing more than Gupta and pro-Zuma propaganda mouthpieces‚ surviving on the hard-earned rands of South Africa’s taxpayers. It is no longer conscionable to fund this propaganda‚” said Van Damme.
She said recent examples of government department spending on the Guptas was in the Free State where the provincial government under Premier Ace Magashule‚ who has been linked with the Guptas‚ spent more than R4 million on The New Age.
In 2015 the communications department spent R10 million on advertising in the same newspaper.
Van Damme called for a ban on Gupta-owned media products.
“We call on South Africans to see all Gupta-media for what it is – Gupta mouthpieces defending the capture of our state. We also call on South Africans to discern the fake Gupta news from real news and caution South Africans that consuming Gupta media risks falling prey to propaganda‚” said Van Damme.
She said this is “direct patronage back to the Guptas in the symbiotic relationship they share with the ANC government”.
Babalo Ndenze – Tiso Black Star Group/TimesLIVE