R25m for breakfast

2013-01-20 10:43
(Picture: <a href=\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\http://www.shutterstock.com\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\>Shutterstock</a> )

(Picture: Shutterstock )

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Johannesburg - Three of the country’s biggest state-owned companies are paying millions of rands to bankroll ­business breakfasts hosted by President Jacob Zuma’s close friends, the Gupta family.

The Guptas, who own The New Age newspaper, have been hosting speakers like Zuma, Justice Minister Jeff Radebe and Public Enterprises Minister Malusi Gigaba for publicly broadcast interviews.

City Press can reveal that:

- Transnet forked out R17.5m for 18 breakfast sessions;
- Eskom paid R7.2m to sponsor six sessions (at R1.2m each) between November 2011 and last year; and
- The SABC doesn’t charge The New Age a cent to broadcast their breakfasts live on SABC2.

Sponsored

It was previously reported that Telkom sponsored 12 business breakfasts to the tune of R12m in the 2012/13 financial year.

The revelation comes in the same week the National Energy Regulator of SA (Nersa) held ­public hearings into Eskom’s ­proposed 16% tariff hike.

Eskom’s sponsorship for The New Age breakfasts was paid from its 49M energy-efficiency initiative budget.

Gupta family spokesperson Gary Naidoo said he found it “very strange and unethical” that City Press focused on their clients.

“These same clients appear in your newspaper and it would seem your questions are driven by the fear of losing market share.

Chilling effect

“It would seem that your motive is one of finding a mechanism to place a ‘chilling effect’ on those ­clients who have bought into our vision of being proudly South ­African, and fiercely independent through the publication of news in a balanced fashion."

The multimillion-rand sponsorships were revealed by Gigaba in response to a parliamentary question by DA MP Kenneth Mubu.

Mubu said the newspaper was an “ANC Gazette”, and Transnet and Eskom’s dealings with it compromised the government’s image.

“The New Age’s owners have a very close and cosy relationship with President Zuma,” Mubu said.

He said it was wrong for government to sponsor the newspaper’s business breakfasts.

Official circulation unknown

Zuma is a family friend of the Guptas and his son Duduzane serves on at least nine boards with members of the Gupta family, ­including Sahara Holdings and Shiva Uranium.

One of Zuma’s wives, Bongi ­Ngema, is the communications and marketing head at the Guptas’ JIC Mining Services.

The Mail & Guardian reported in November that there were “three sets of Gupta fingerprints” on a R3.8m bond registered on Ngema’s Waterkloof Ridge property.

The New Age’s official circulation is unknown as the paper is yet to register with the Audit Bureau of Circulations.

ABC vice-president Gordon ­Patterson estimated last year, in a report by the Daily Maverick, that the paper sold between 7 800 and 13 000 copies a day.

Both Transnet and Eskom ­defended their sponsorships of the breakfasts this week.

Millions spent

Transnet received a proposal, which it says was considered through the company’s normal channels, according to spokesperson Mboniso Sigonyela.

Eskom’s Hilary Joffe said the ­decision to sponsor the briefings was reached after mutual discussion over a period of time.

Transnet and Eskom claim the 24 sessions they sponsor “encourage thought leadership, highlight the need to conserve electricity and build their brands”.

Transnet has also spent more than R8.5m on advertising with The New Age between ­October 2011 and November last year, according to documents in City Press’ possession.

Eskom has spent about R4.4m on advertising with The New Age between December 2010 and October last year.

Brand awareness

Sigonyela said Transnet saw the breakfasts as a branding opportunity in the newspaper and on SABC2.

Joffe said the main benefit for ­Eskom and its shareholder was brand awareness and highlighting the need to conserve electricity.

“We did not pay the SABC for the Morning Live broadcasts. This was one of the benefits of the ­sponsorships,” Joffe said.

In October, the Sunday Times ­reported the 45-minute briefings were broadcast for free, when the SABC normally charged R18 000 for 30 seconds on the programme.

Two inside sources confirmed to City Press that the newspaper did not pay for their SABC TV slots.

Not free

SABC spokesperson Kaizer Kganyago, however, said the broadcasts were not for free.

“The agreement between the SABC and The New Age is a win-win agreement as we get content that helps us inform the public.”

Naidoo said other newspapers were jealous of their success.

“We know that our loyal partners will see through this bullying by competitors and continue their support of our newspaper.”

He didn’t deny that the SABC gave them free publicity.

“Using the cover of journalism to understand our model is not the way we choose to do business and we would urge yourselves to consider the ethics of your ­approach.”

Read more on:    bongi ngema  |  jeff radebe  |  jacob zuma  |  malusi gigaba  |  kenneth mubu  |  politics
NEXT ON NEWS24X
SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
321 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
/Movies
Traffic & Train Alerts
Traffic
Kuils River 17:58 PM
Road name: Polkadraai Road Eastbound

ROADWORKS between the R102 Van Riebeeck Road and the R310 Baden Powell Drive exit - expect delays

Montague Gardens 12:06 PM
Road name: Montague Drive

ROADWORKS - lane closures both directions for BRT lane construction - DELAYS towards Bosmansdam Road

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Magical Massinga

Spend 5 nights at the gorgeous Massinga Beach Lodge in Mozambique and only pay for 4 from R13 220 per person sharing. Includes return flights, accommodation, transfers and romantic turndown. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Up to 60% off - clearance sale!

Save up to 60% on appliances, books, electronics, toys, movies and more. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Deal of the Week!

Get bestselling John Green novels now just R99 each! Hurry and get yours while stocks last. Shop here.

Mind blowing deals on beauty & fragrances

Save up to 30% off beauty and fragrances. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Up to 50% off hair care products!

Save up to 50% on professional hair care products at kalahari.com. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

30% off academic books

Score a mind blowing 30% off academic books! Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Horoscopes
Jan 21 - Feb 18
Jan 21 - Feb 18

You may be inspired to do things that expand your mind in a big way today. You have a need to explore and a need to please....read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.