President Jacob Zuma’s newspaper-owning friends, the Gupta family, will soon put a defiant toe into the shark-infested waters of 24-hour television news.

The channel, which will be their second foray into news media after the launch of the New Age national newspaper, will air on DStv in a slot apparently previously earmarked for an SABC attempt at the 24-hour game.

The New Age recently became the news instead of just reporting it when a political furore blew up around their acceptance of large scale sponsorship from state-owned companies such as utility company Eskom.

The sponsorships were solicited through a programme of breakfasts.

MultiChoice chief executive officer Imtiaz Patel confirmed that the New Age’s holding company, TNA Media, had agreed a deal with MultiChoice to launch a 24-hour news channel, starting this year in July or August.

Industry leaders however, told the City Press that there had been no sign of an employment drive by TNA Media.