Johannesburg - Former minister of Public Enterprises Malusi Gigaba pushed hard for Gupta-linked The New Age to be funded by Eskom in a multi-million rand sponsorship deal, the Zondo commission heard.
Eskom’s acting general manager for marketing and branding Paul Pretorius told the inquiry that he was forced into signing off on Eskom sponsoring The New Age (TNA) business breakfasts.
Eskom signed a contract that assured the Gupta company that it would sponsor four of its business breakfasts which costed the struggling power utility R1 million per session. The breakfasts were broadcasted on the SABC’s Morning Live programme. The events showcased discussions with government officials.
Through the commission, it has been revealed that many of these breakfasts were funded using government money. Various state-owned enterprises including Transnet and Eskom funded the events. TNA spent little to no money on sessions.
Pretorius said his division was approached by TNA to fund the breakfasts in 2012 and to also spend on advertising in the newspaper. He declined the offer immediately because the deal involved a lot of money and little assurance of value for Eskom.