Pro-government newspaper The New Age received an advertising injection of more than R2m from the department of higher education, which joins a host of other departments in directing advertising to the Gupta-family owned newspaper.
The Guptas, famous for using Waterkloof Airforce Base to land charter planes full of guests for a multimillion-rand wedding in 2013, received R1,2m in 2012/2013 on advertising in their newspaper from the higher education and training department. This dropped to R755 000 in 2013/2014.
Public entities falling under the department, reported minister of higher education & training Blade Nzimande — who is also general secretary of the South African Communist Party — spent just R37 000 in 2012/2013 on advertising in the newspaper but this jumped to R141 823 in 2013/2014.
Last week, trade & industry minister Rob Davies divulged that his department had injected just short of R2m of advertising spend into The New Age.
Energy minister Tina Joemat-Pettersson acknowledged that her department had spent R1,9m on tickets to the paper’s breakfasts, while science & technology minister Naledi Pandor said her department had spent R500 000 on sponsorships of the paper’s breakfasts.
The breakfasts normally include a cabinet minister, and a recent one in Cape Town hosted President Jacob Zuma after his disrupted state of the nation speech in February. The breakfasts are televised on state broadcaster the SABC.
Minister of rural development & 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 information on the advertising and breakfast spend comes in response to a series of questions from DA MPs in parliament. Money spent applies to the years 2011 to 2014. — Fin24