Gupta ties tick off EFF, Cope

2014-01-29 22:04
Atul Gupta the main shareholder of The New Age. (Picture: Leon Sadiki)

Atul Gupta the main shareholder of The New Age. (Picture: Leon Sadiki)

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Johannesburg - Two political parties rejected invites to a newspaper's business breakfast briefing on Wednesday to discuss the IEC's readiness for the 2014 elections.

The Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) and Congress of the People (Cope) said they would not be part of a breakfast hosted by the Gupta family.

The Gupta family owns The New Age Media, the mother company of The New Age newspaper and African News Network 7 (ANN7).

The EFF said in a statement: "[We] have rejected the invitation due to the fact that The New Age is a Gupta establishment.

"EFF refuses to directly or indirectly endorse the Gupta family which it views as a political entity that uses platforms like TNA and the business briefing to protect and advance [President]Jacob Zuma."

EFF spokesperson Mbuyiseni Ndlozi said the EFF would take action against the Independent Electoral Commission's (IEC) participation in the briefing. It would consider legal options, including approaching the electoral court.

"The Guptas are conflicted and cannot be the ones organising platforms where IEC participates, unless if IEC has chosen to partake in conflicted and inherently biased political platforms."

Cope's Johan Abrie said the party was not willing to "fawn to business interests aligned with the Gupta family".

"The Guptas, through their publicly declared 'friendship' with our country's head of state, have used their influence to humiliate South Africans and show no respect for the country's sovereignty," he said in a statement.

"We find the Gupta's business modus operandi undesirable and do not wish to be associated with their ventures beyond being subjects of reportage by their publications and broadcast media," said Abrie.

Managing editor of TNA Media, Gary Naidoo, said the organisation understood the right of any party not to participate in the breakfast.

He said all political parties had been invited to attend the briefing with the IEC as a means of fostering good debate, imparting information to the electorate, and deepening democracy.

The briefing would go ahead.

Read more on:    cope  |  anc  |  tna  |  eff  |  jacob zuma  |  johannesburg ­  |  politics  |  media  |  elections 2014

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