Free State Treasury has spent more money on the Gupta-owned newspaper in three months than what a national government department and all its entities have spent in an entire year.
The provincial treasury spent a total of R2.2m on The New Age (TNA) newspaper – owned by this politically connected family.
This is while the national Department of Communication indicated that together with all its entities the total expenditure for the 15/2016 financial year amounted to just more than R241 000.
Some of the entities include the SABC, Government Communication and Information System and ICASA.
The Head of provincial treasury, Godfrey Mahlatsi, defended their media spent TNA saying they are carrying the cost for the entire provincial government.
“We are spending for treasury specifically, but with the newspapers it’s a transversal contract – that is other departments are not paying. We are paying, we have centralized that contract. It’s a combination – it’s the newspaper subscription and we also pay for adverts.”
Meanwhile DA Chief Whip in the Free State Legislature, David van Vuuren, said his party suspects that is how millions are being siphoned off to pay the “Gupta Cartel”. He said his party has now send questions to other departments to break down their media spending. – Cathy Dlodlo/Courant News