Parastatals 'bullied' into supporting the 'New Age'

The public enterprises department is alleged to have leaned heavily on state-owned enterprises to enter into financial agreements with the "New Age".

The New Age is owned by the politically well-connected Gupta family, which enjoys friendly ties with both President Jacob Zuma and Public Enterprises Minister Malusi Gigaba.

Evidence of the direct involvement of the ministry in the parastatals' doing business with the newspaper comes in the wake of disclosures that Eskom, Transnet and Denel spent R25-million on sponsoring New Age business breakfasts. The breakfasts, which feature political heavyweights, including Zuma, and which industry experts say are highly profitable for the newspaper – are also broadcast live by the South African Broadcasting Corporation at no cost to the sponsors or the New Age.

The newspaper is secretive about its business and does not submit its circulation for auditing, but state and parastatal support appears to form the backbone of its circulation, advertising and sponsorship income.

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