The Department of Communication spent close to R1 million on a single Gupta-media breakfast briefing in May last year, a reply to Democratic Alliance (DA) parliamentary questions has revealed.
In the response, the Communications Minister, Ayanda Dlodlo confirms that the Department spent R988 689.84 on a single business breakfast briefing held on 26 May 2016 organised by Gupta-owned newspaper, The New Age.
According to the DA, it is not a secret that the Gupta-owned TNA is propped up by the millions it receives from government departments and state-owned companies that sponsor its breakfast briefings, buy-in-bulk copies of its newspaper, and spend disproportionally on adverts in the newspaper.
The DA cites these recent expenditures as examples:
• The Free State Provincial Government last year, spent more than R4 million on TNA, as revealed by the Nielsen report released earlier this year;
• Last year, the SABC spent almost R1 million on subscriptions to TNA; and
• In 2015, the Communications Department spent R10 million on advertising in the same paper.
“Over the last few months, it has become patently clear that not only TNA, but also ANN7, are nothing more than Gupta and pro-Zuma propaganda mouthpieces, surviving on the hard-earned rands of South Africa’s taxpayers. It is no longer conscionable to fund this propaganda,” says Phumzile Van Damme MP – DA Shadow Minister of Communications.
“We call on South Africans to see all Gupta-media for what it is: Gupta mouthpieces defending the capture of our state. We also call on South Africans to discern the fake Gupta news from real news and caution South Africans that consuming Gupta Media risks falling prey to propaganda.
“As the ‘Gupta Media’ continues to spew fake news aimed at defending one family, our captured ANC government props them up. This is direct patronage back to the Guptas in the symbiotic relationship they share with the ANC government.
“Since the Gupta email scandal began last Sunday, ANN7 and TNA has done everything to deflect and distract the public from the truth. They have attacked everyone who has spoken out against the Gupta capture of the ANC.
“We cannot allow the Guptas’ propaganda to bring the credibility of our media into question. Hardworking and dedicated journalist and staff at both Gupta media houses are being abused by the corrupted political agendas of the ANC and the Guptas. The DA stands in solidarity with these journalists and staff who report with integrity, but are under enormous political pressure.
“It is time to stop giving the New Age and ANN7 the time of day, and see them for what they are: The Guptas’ own Closed Circuit Television. It is time to stop all funding of ANN7 and The New Age, to put a stop to the Guptas propaganda campaign,” concludes Van Damme.