30 January 2013

South Africa: ANC Statement On the New Age/Sabc Breakfast Sessions

Democratic Alliance leader, Helen Zille has written to President Jacob Zuma asking for a Judicial Commission of Inquiry to investigate how the New ... ( Resource: The Democratic Alliance Seeks Inquiry into Funding for The New Age Newspaper )

press release

The New Age/Sabc breakfast sessions are an innovative and important private initiative in strengthening our democracy by ensuring an informed citizenry. The African National Congress is encouraged and fully supports the role of the New Age and Sabc breakfast sessions in providing an unmediated and uncensored platform for public engagement by government, public sector entities and other entities like SAFA, informing and accessing millions of South Africans instantly. This is inherent in any democracy that government at all levels and its entities should use available platforms to account to the public it serves

What is important is the fact that the breakfast sessions are complimented with print copies that are distributed throughout the country because the New Age is one daily publication that has a national distribution footprint and coverage. It is also the only daily publication that covers all nine provinces of our country in one publication without exception.

We believe that the TNA/Sabc breakfast sessions capacity to instantly inform South Africans and capacity to reach out to millions is at the centre of the DA's gripe. They are opposed to an informed citizenry and public entities that keeps citizenry informed. We also want to acknowledge the role played by state owned entities in ensuring that a constant and predictable platform exists to showcase government work and to facilitate a process that will ensure that the public is informed continuously.

We are aware that the developments surrounding the The New Age/SABC initiative that has been a source of government communication has been unfairly and deliberately distorted to suggest that it was a funding model exclusive to the New Age. This argument fails to acknowledge that on an annual basis, government spends millions of public funds for purposes of advertising and media buying using existing private media houses. It also pays for airtime on radio and television that are meant to keep the public abreast with developments in government work.

It is important to note that, organisations like DA have also used the same platform to communicate with the public. The sad thing is that when it suits them they lie about their involment as captured in our statement of the 23rd January 2013, where-in we called on Hellen Zille to admit her lie. Instead she has embarked on a campaign against The New Age to divert attention from her lies and the fact that they exposed the fact that the DA got money from the Guptas, irregularities on the extension of the contract of TWA Hunt Luscaris that expired in December and was quietly extended for another year at a cost of a million rands per month, through a bid committee that was chaired by Carol Avenant who is her Director of Communication and a former employees of Hunt Lascaris subsidiary called Yellw Wood Future Architects. Of concern is the conflict of interest inherent in the role of Carol Avenant as chair of the bid committee with blessings and leadership of Hellen Zille.

We also take exception to the allegation that Hellen Zille has been peddling that The New Age is a conduit to raise money for the ANC. If Hellen Zille was to be taken serious and honest she should have called for an investigation of all government expenditure in advertising using all media because her narrowing the call to focus on the New Age is evident that she is not happy for having been exposed by the TNA for who she is, a liar and an unreliable individual who will sacrifice the truth if it does not suit her and her party the DA. We re-iterate a statement we made previously that Hellen Zille and the DA cannot be taken seriously by South Africans. There has been no underhand or secret sponsorship for the TNA/SABC breakfast sessions nor has there been secret ads by government departments on TNA. These were openly reported on in the South African parliament. It is only a deranged mind that can refer to the breakfast initiative and ad spend on TNA as 'infogate'.

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