Media treatment of Guptas borders on the criminal - CEO

2015-09-04 14:56
Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa arrives in Japan. (GCIS)

Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa arrives in Japan. (GCIS)

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Johannesburg – Media "attacks" on the Gupta family following Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa’s use of one of their jets bordered on the criminal, CEO of the Gupta-owned TNA Media said on Friday.

Neither the family nor its companies had ever been found criminally liable for anything, nor were they under investigation by authorities, Nazeem Howa said in a statement. 

"If anything, the constant attacks by the media on them and their business activities border on the criminal."

He was leaping to the family’s defence following controversy over the government leasing one of the family’s jets to take Ramaphosa on an official visit to Japan last month.

Last week Friday, Defence Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula said neither the government nor Ramaphosa had known that the Guptas owned the Bombardier Global Express 6000.

An external agent, ExecuJet, leased the Bombardier in terms of a contract it had with the plane’s owner, the Gupta-owned Westdawn Investments. ExecuJet was the second service provider on a treasury-approved list the government approached for a plane to transport Ramaphosa.

This step was taken after the South African Air Force was unable to provide a plane with the required range, safety and comfort levels suitable for Ramaphosa, Mapisa-Nqakula said.

Howa, who told the Daily Maverick in 2010 that The New Age (TNA) was proudly South African and "fiercely independent", said there was "almost a hint of desperation" in media attempts to besmirch the Gupta’s name and reputation.

"The glee with which certain sections of the media reported on the matter left a lot to be desired."

Westdawn did not know how much Execujet charged, did not benefit from these fees, and was paid a fixed monthly cost for the use of the plane, he said. 

According to confidentiality documents, Westdawn did not know, and had no power to decide, who leased the plane.

Read more on:    the new age  |  cyril ramaphosa  |  nosiviwe mapisa-nqakula  |  gupta jet

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