The DA will probe Gauteng premier Nomvula Mokonyane after a report that her office spent nearly R700 000 on a breakfast briefing hosted by The New Age last year.
“I will be asking questions in the Gauteng legislature on this extravagant spending, which does not seem justified in terms of benefit for people in Gauteng,” Democratic Alliance MPL Jack Bloom said in a statement today.
“The natural suspicion is that money is being funnelled to assist this newspaper because it is owned by the Gupta family, who are major benefactors of the ANC and [President] Jacob Zuma,” he said.
The Star reported on Wednesday that a purchase order revealed Mokonyane’s office paid R683 095 for the briefing on October 4 2012.
The premier’s office was also invoiced for 500 guests at R801 a head, totalling R400 890, and four front-page advertisements at R44 070 each, amounting to R176 280.
Mokonyane’s spokesman Thebe Mohatle said the premier’s office would comment on the report later today.
“We are generating a media statement that will put the matter into perspective,” he said.
The New Age’s spokesman, Gary Naidoo, told The Star on Tuesday the company was “quite surprised” by enquiries about Mokonyane’s briefing, and said the company had explained the model several times.
“The business briefing sponsorship covers the pre- and post-event marketing, catering, venue hire, audiovisual cost and event management,” he said.
“In this specific case, the Gauteng premier’s office bought seats to invite the province’s stakeholders to attend this important briefing. In addition, advertising was included as part of the deal.”