New Age ruffling feathers - boss

2013-01-23 22:37

Johannesburg - The New Age (TNA) has questioned DA leader Helen Zille's criticism of a series of their business breakfasts that reportedly cost millions of rands in public funds.

"Her attempt to analyse the business model... is flawed and far-fetched. Her comments are more in line with that of [a] politician wishing to score cheap political points," the newspaper's chief executive Nazeem Howa said in a statement on Wednesday.

Zille pulled out of a TNA business breakfast on Monday following reports that the event was funded with public money.

City Press reported that some of the biggest state-owned companies were paying millions to bankroll the breakfasts, hosted by the Gupta family.

According to the report, Transnet paid R17.5m for 18 breakfast sessions and Eskom R7.2m to sponsor six sessions between November 2011 and last year.

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

The SABC reportedly did not charge TNA a cent to broadcast the event live on SABC2.

Previously, Zille said, she was under the assumption that the events were funded by the newspaper and by members of the public who purchased tickets to attend.

"Now that it has come to light that the breakfasts are funded by public money... the DA cannot continue to participate," she said.

"These breakfasts must be very profitable for the New Age, which is owned by the Gupta family, who are in turn vocal supporters and funders of the ANC and President Jacob Zuma."

The opposition leader said it was unacceptable that public money be used to bankroll a privately owned newspaper, and indirectly fund the African National Congress.

Positive image

Howa said Zille had ignored the fact that costs were attached to organising an "event of this nature".

"She should be assured that the sponsors of our business briefing do indeed pay for the marketing of the event, the cost of venue hire, catering and event management... Without sponsors such events will never take place and it is commonly agreed that the business briefings have transformed public discourse in this country."

Howa said the event allowed people to directly pose questions to President Jacob Zuma, Cabinet ministers, premiers, economic analysts, and sport celebrities.

He said it was interesting to see the amount of time Zille and competitor newspapers were spending on analysing the newspaper's business strategy and sustainability.

"The New Age's entry into a fairly set newspaper industry and its innovative approach to newspapering were bound to ruffle some feathers.

"Zille has identified with those who want to ensure the demise of a newspaper intent on projecting a positive image of South Africa and provide a forum for balanced news coverage and debate."

Earlier, the ANC and its Women's League demanded an apology from Zille, accusing her of lying about not knowing that Telkom sponsored a TNA breakfast briefing she attended last year.

On Tuesday, the newspaper released a video clip on its website of Zille thanking Telkom for sponsoring a TNA business breakfast in Cape Town in February last year.

Asked during an interview with Eyewitness News whether she had thanked Telkom at the breakfast, Zille said she could not recall doing so.

Zille said the ruling party was trying to deflect attention away from the fact that millions of rands had been siphoned out of state-owned enterprises for the events.

"This [Telkom's involvement] was not a sponsorship. When someone sponsors an event, they pay the cost of part or the entire event," Zille said.

"It has now emerged that these costs were more than covered by the ticket sales. So what was Telkom doing giving R1 million to a private company owned by a major benefactor of President [Jacob] Zuma and the ANC?"

Zille asked if the sponsorship was merely a convenient cover-up for this.

  • dsundire - 2013-01-23 22:45

    There is innovation in stealing taxpayers' money.

      rowan.clark.10 - 2013-01-23 23:17

      The paper thinks they can have more bacon on their toast if they buttered it on both sides and have the opposition sitting in on your massive outlays. I bet if it involved some physical work instead half those big stomachs would be missing in a flash from those soft seats!

      andres.dewet - 2013-01-23 23:19

      Why does their rebuttal sound like Jackson Mthembu's? Oh, because they're both Zuma's blunder "pooper scoopers!" TELKOM is a public enterprise, a parastatal, a monopoly, it belongs to us, the people. Thus, Helen refuses to use OUR money to speak at a forum. But, this shall not bother you, as the Gupta's and Zuma's take no issue taking from us.

      lownabester - 2013-01-23 23:57

      Mbongeni, maybe you should look at the country (Sasolburg) and rethink, but I guess that is beyond you. New Age is funded by our money (taxpayers) which you are not one, Helen can say and do what she wants. The truth hurts????

      abner.malema - 2013-01-24 10:23

      I'm convinced that white people never wanted blacks to be liberated just by the comments and the way everything to do with blacks. DA is a wolf in a sheep goat they preach democracy and good governancy whilst they know they need a return to white supremacy

      charlesbronson.bronson - 2013-01-24 10:55

      @abner.malema Show me what the ANC have build and what measure they have used to unite this country? And I will show you that they have steal, kill and destroyed more than the old NP. They divide this country more than any other party. The DA is the only party that can say they reflect true unity by race and look at the western Cape, No ANC province come even close. South Africa is not about the ANC, it's about the ordinary man in the street contributing to the South Africa. Not robbing, stealing and destroying it!

      litha.zukani - 2013-01-24 12:38

      @charlesbronson.bronson...Being a black man born in Cape Town townships and later moved to the suburban area. I can say that there's little or nothing changed in the townships since DA took over the Western Cape, and sadly, that's where most of the non whites are staying. So, I don't really understand when you say DA is the only party that reflects true unity by race.

  • adil.smit.5 - 2013-01-23 23:02

    The New Age is definitely ruffling the nation's feathers - South Africans across the spectrum not liking more wasting of taxpayers money.

  • Notrax123 - 2013-01-23 23:03

    Gupta & Zuma = unholy corrupt alliance

  • peter.mansfield.395 - 2013-01-23 23:26

    Nothing to do with ruffling feathers. New Age is cheating - taking R1 000 000 sponsorship per breakfast from SOEs that are pleading poverty and taking taxpayers money to keep then afloat.

  • givenvon.baloyi - 2013-01-23 23:50

    Seems like the Guptas has stopped funding the DA hence they are back on the spot light

      Ronald - 2013-01-24 00:55

      Did they ever fund the DA and can you prove it? The Guptas will only offer to fund the DA if it looks like they might run the country after an election. To them it is the cost of business, legally or morally right or not. The day the Guptas pull out of SA is the day you know that our economy cannot be bled anymore.

      clive.prince.14 - 2013-01-24 06:11

      Pray tell when did the Guptas ever fund the DA ? Back up your statement with proof !

      jacqui.daanevanrensburg - 2013-01-24 09:38

      Givenvon.baloyi. You are typical ANC material. Shout something but never come with proof. Don't remain silly all your life.

  • Erna - 2013-01-24 00:02

    There is no way that 'organising an event of this nature' costs millions unless the speakers get a huge appearance fee, which I don't think. Remember, each person is also paying an entrance fee which covers costs. So the newspaper, i e the guptas, pocket approximately R1 million. And seeing that they are zuma's personal bankers, it becomes a very fishy tale.

  • Brendon Reniers - 2013-01-24 00:25

    Thats it Eskom... keep hiking electricity charges so that you can pay to have a bunch of idiots talking crap over breakfast!

  • freddie.mostert.3 - 2013-01-24 02:46

    Wtf makes you so importent that you must eat money!? All of you are corrupt! Sies! Eet pap soos die res van ons, arogante doners!

  • Michael Hawthorne - 2013-01-24 03:33

    so why is this biggot still not answering for the nkandla R2470000?

  • richard.scully2 - 2013-01-24 05:44

    Stop stealing our cash for your ANC trash rag that the only sales you have is government departments with taxpayer cash. We hate the ANC and the New Age

  • lex.holmes2 - 2013-01-24 05:45

    "balanced news coverage and debate". What a joke! The only balancing these thieves are doing is balancing on their heads while they steal tax payers money leaving millions of SA citizens impoverished, uneducated and whose only awnser to the situation is to resort lawlessness and violence.

  • peasant.mcpoor - 2013-01-24 06:28

    Who cares if they stealing our tax money??not like anything is going to be done about it (except moan on media sites)

  • Gideon.Viljoen - 2013-01-24 06:28

    The eval power is showing, a professional company would have done it deferent like setting up a meeting to discuss the situation like FNB setting up a appointment with the ANC to talk about the adverts, The eval thinking of a power and money driven compony New Age will go open there box of "goodies" where they hide all there "I got something against you" proof and use it as a weapon. They got things against all the "big boy's" to make sure they stay on top

  • Gideon.Viljoen - 2013-01-24 06:39

    You must spend a million to make a million, the more you spend the more you will make, good way of making money but the point is to use your own money to make the money, New Age plan, Zuma/ ANC plan, the same plan but lets use millions of Tax payers money to make the millions then keep the Tax money as well and if anybody say anything they will open there "box of goodies" to destroy you. They got something on every body

  • khathutshelo.muafrica - 2013-01-24 06:46

    Sucks sucks sucks,by the end of zumas presidency a billion of our tax money wuold b spent on zuma's s***t n y dd zille lie abt nt knowing abt telkom while while she even congradulate them,she sucks too

  • Gideon.Viljoen - 2013-01-24 06:51

    If you want the ANC to loose power stop concentrating on Zuma, start concentrating on Gupta, start investigating everything linked to the Gupta name, ANC and Zuma looks like the big fish but some one must be feeding the big fish, SA is ruled by Indian Gupta. Look and you will find

  • Gideon.Viljoen - 2013-01-24 06:54

    Only one number is on Zuma's cell phone if he want's to know what to do, he phones his Boss Gupta

  • Gideon.Viljoen - 2013-01-24 06:57

    Gupta, Zuma and the ANC is still fighting the struggle, struggle to make more money fir them selfs

  • richard.scully2 - 2013-01-24 07:01

    The new age boss will be ruffling fellow jail birds feathers with Vaseline if the DA. get in

  • david.luis.9822924 - 2013-01-24 07:01

    I'd say this is a good case for the public protector and the Hawks to singk their talons into....

  • rhino - 2013-01-24 07:10

    If you go into a TELKOM store you'll ALWAYS find stacks of FREE New Age Newspapers........ Wonder what the connection is????? :-)

  • pete.moore.12 - 2013-01-24 07:20

    Zille continues to show these cANCer clowns and all their corrupt buddies how a person with morals, ethics and dedication to the her country and it's people behaves.

  • dsundire - 2013-01-24 07:23

    16% tariff hike to fund The New Age? That's what Zuma meant when he said businesses that support ANC will prosper.

  • dsundire - 2013-01-24 07:23

    16% tariff hike to fund The New Age? That's what Zuma meant when he said businesses that support ANC will prosper.

  • Bra - 2013-01-24 07:24

    Clearly the video shows madam knew abt the sponsorships, now that it's out she tries to distance herself. Makes u wonder if a lot more isnt hidden in the wp? politician r all the same!

      litha.zukani - 2013-01-24 12:50

      I just like how they all think alike. I'm sure they look at us and laugh when they meet up for dinner after parliament session.

  • ivy.malema.3 - 2013-01-24 07:25

    Now there is a well attended (sold out) breakfast by New Age, media houses should market themselves well if they can't there was not use dirty politics as their marketing tools cause they will fail

  • tholakele.mngadi.3 - 2013-01-24 07:25

    GodZille is a typical politician after all, with this rare 'sickness' of not 'recalling' events. I wish one day the Doctors can find a cure for this. I hope its not like stupidity which P Div once said 'there is no cure for stupidity, you can go to any chemist'.

  • vitor.mosca - 2013-01-24 07:56

    I'm sorry but I'm sure I could have arranged those same breakfasts for R350 000 each, not a frikking million a pop!

  • lee.brand.73 - 2013-01-24 08:14

    Surprised? It's a goverment newspaper funded by public cash? And everyone gets a bit of jam along the way? Just add it to our list.

  • jonathan.maree.1 - 2013-01-24 08:29

    corrupt bastards!!!!

  • luna.moon.5243817 - 2013-01-24 08:34

    Gupta family...rings a bell?

  • pws69 - 2013-01-24 08:50

    "Her comments are more in line with that of [a] politician wishing to score cheap political points," Now where I have I heard that turn of phrase before? Oh yes, everytime an ANC politician is caught lying, and has no honest answer to give, this turn of phrase comes up. New Age=ANC

  • jacqui.millin - 2013-01-24 08:54

    Bull dust! I worked in the hospitality industry many years! I know what it cost to put a breakfast on a plate!

  • gareth.richards.737 - 2013-01-24 09:22

    R1m per breakfast: If they have 1000 attendees, that's R1000 a head. Plus the R700 they have to pay to attend. So those nice Gupta brothers are getting in at least R1700 a plate. R2700 if there are only 500 attendees. WImpy, Steerts and other R20-a-breakfast places take note. And it's not R500 000/year that is the AVERAGE cost of Eskom employees: that was last year. This year its R618000 EACH (See David GLeason's column in Business Day quoting Eskom informaation from submissions to the regulator's hearing on tariff increases).

  • jacqui.daanevanrensburg - 2013-01-24 09:33

    The NEW AGE that I am thinking about is something different. It has all to do with love, honesty and decency. Not the characteristics of a paper upholding the vile.

  • samantha.mcclean.33 - 2013-01-24 10:07

    Just checked out the short vid on TNA's website. Talk about being taken out of context. Seriously though, you guys that think the ANC is the great "I am", need to wake up! Why is it so difficult for you to see that the ANC is running the country into the ground.

  • ohbizz.chabata - 2013-01-24 10:27

    I found it odd when watching morning Live this morning, they asked the editor of TNA to comment (speculate) on Zille's commentary and then after she had been bashed by the guy they went on to play a clip where she said"...thank you Telkom for your involvement in this..." and then cut her off!!!!!! One wonders why she wasnt invited to the panel with SABC reporter and the editor so that she herself could explain what she had meant. I was honestly disgusted. BTW I seldom like the opinions of Zille but what they did to her today was outright wrong!

      pws69 - 2013-01-24 12:01

      Yes, also bearing in mind that the SABC canceled a political panel discussion because no one from the ANC was attending. One rule for the ANC another for the rest of us.

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