Guptas pressured DA: Zille

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IOL  helen zille aug 31 INDEPENDENT NEWSPAPERS File photo: Western Cape Premier and DA leader Helen Zille. Photo: Tracey Adams

Cape Town - The New Age (TNA) newspaper heavyweights tried to dissuade the DA from asking parliamentary questions on the paper's funding, party leader Helen Zille claimed on Wednesday.

She said TNA editor Moegsien Williams, managing editor Atul Gupta and the newspaper's chief executive Nazeem Howa paid a visit to DA MP and federal chairman Wilmot James at his home last year.

“The three adopted a heavy-handed approach, and said the DA should be aware of the fact that the Independent Group would soon be bought by a well-known ANC sympathiser, and that this would be very bad for the DA,” Zille told reporters at Parliament.

Zille said James did not give in to pressure and told them the DA would continue asking questions about the use of public funds for business breakfasts and advertising in the newspaper.

“They (Williams, Gupta and Howa) suggested it would be best if the DA did not make an enemy of The New Age,” she said.

TNA spokesman Gary Naidoo was not immediately available for comment. An official at the newspaper told the SA Press Association that Naidoo would be in meetings the whole day and would respond once he had read his e-mails.

Zille and TNA executives have been involved in a public spat, after she refused to speak at one of their business breakfasts, saying it was being funded by public money.

TNA hit back, saying she had been aware of this when she attended one of their breakfasts in the past. - Sapa



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