State departments pour millions into New Age

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The number of complaints lodged with the Press Ombudsman over newspaper reports increased by 95% during the last two years. (Duncan Alfreds, News24)
The number of complaints lodged with the Press Ombudsman over newspaper reports increased by 95% during the last two years. (Duncan Alfreds, News24)

Cape Town - The Department of Trade and Industry has plugged nearly R2m worth of advertising into The New Age newspaper - owned by the pro-ANC Gupta family - in the last three financial years.

During the same period the Department of Rural Development and Land Reform spent nearly R400 000 on advertising and breakfast tickets related to The New Age.

In reply to DA MP DW Macpherson, who asked how much his department and those reporting to him spent on advertising in those three years for The New Age, Minister of Trade and Industry Rob Davies said R452 321 had been spent in 2011/12, followed by just over R1m in 2012/2013, while this dropped to R388 000 in 2013/2014.

READ: Come clean on R1.6m New Age ads - DA

In addition, Davies reported that the National Empowerment Fund had spent about R230 000 on adverts in 2011/2012 and a further R28 000 in 2012/2013.

Meanwhile, the Department of Rural Development and Land Reform spent about R210 000 on advertising in The New Age for those three years as well. The amount jumped from just R9 000 in 2011/2012 to R179 000 in 2012/2013, but dropped to R33 840 in 2013/2014.

Minister of Rural Development and Land Affairs Gugile Nkwinti reported that nearly R180 000 had been spent by his department and entities reporting to him on tickets to attend The New Age breakfast briefings during the last three financial years.

The New Age breakfasts tend to host senior ANC politicians, and hosted President Jacob Zuma after his State of the Nation speech in February this year.

Last October the Mail and Guardian reported that then interim Eskom CEO Collin Matjila had signed off a R43m contract to sponsor The New Age’s breakfast briefings over a three-year period.

ALSO READ: Eskom R43m New Age deal stirs controversy

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