Protector ‘must probe New Age breakfasts’

2013-01-24 16:51

The Freedom Front Plus intends asking Public Protector Thuli Madonsela to probe the financing of a series of business breakfasts hosted by The New Age using public funds.

In particular, it wanted her to look at the use of public funds by public entities, Freedom Front Plus parliamentary spokesperson Anton Alberts said today.

“The close and improper relationship between newspaper owners and the ANC... and the use of a private platform for image building... is an indication of possible corruption and fruitless expenditure,” he said in a statement.

The Freedom Front Plus would also ask Madonsela to probe politicians who participated in The New Age business breakfasts for improper ties and conflicts of interests with public enterprises and the newspaper.

City Press reported on Sunday that some of the biggest state-owned companies were paying millions to bankroll the breakfasts.

According to the report, Transnet paid R17.5 million for 18 breakfast sessions and Eskom R7.2 million for six sessions between November 2011 and last year. It was previously reported that Telkom paid R12 million to sponsor 12 breakfasts in the 2012/13 financial year.

The SABC reportedly did not charge The New Age to broadcast the events live on SABC2.

The New Age is owned by the Gupta family, a vocal supporter and funder of the ANC and of President Jacob Zuma.

Alberts said he wanted Madonsela to look at the regularity of Transnet and Eskom’s sponsorships.

“Why would Transnet want to polish its image through such sponsorships, given the fact that Transnet’s image has already been damaged by its own doing and obstinate actions against its pensioners?” he asked.

Alberts added that Eskom needed to be investigated for wasting funds while applying to the National Energy Regulator of SA for an increase in electricity tariffs.

Eskom has applied to raise electricity prices by 16% a year over the next five years.

It claimed the increase was necessary to ensure it could provide the electricity needs of all South Africans.

Alberts said it was absurd that both Transnet and Eskom were trying to polish their image through sponsorships because both were monopolies and public utility companies that were not supposed to make a profit.

“Polishing a company’s image is only needed by companies in the private sector,” he said.

“Transnet and Eskom should rather concentrate on public service delivery, and the welfare of their employees and former employees.”

The party was also considering laying charges against the SABC with the Independent Communications Authority of SA for breaking its licensing conditions to provide publicity in a balanced manner to all political parties.

“The majority of opposition parties were never given the same opportunity for publicity as those who had participated in The New Age business breakfasts,” said Alberts.

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions. 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
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


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 network.


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.