New Age breakfasts: Gauteng premier faces tough questions

Although Gauteng premier denies spending nearly R700,000 on a New Age breakfast, it will be probed.

UNDER FIRE: Gauteng Premier Nomvula Mokonyane. Picture: Werner Beukes/SAPA

JOHANNESBURG - Allegations that Gauteng Premier Nomvula Mokonyane's office spent nearly R700,000 on a New Age business breakfast will be probed in the Gauteng legislature.

The Star newspaper on Wednesday reported the premier's office was invoiced for 500 guests, at R800 a head, for the October breakfast. It also apparently paid for four front page advertisements.

This latest development comes amid controversy over several state-owned companies sponsoring New Age business breakfasts.

The Democratic Alliance (DA)'s Jack Bloom said he would be asking questions in the legislature about this.

"R700,000 is a huge amount of money and there's a lot of need for that in other areas in Gauteng - particularly our crumbling hospitals. The premier is going to have to have to justify this extravagant expenditure. It's very suspicious because we all know the New Age newspaper is owned by the Gupta family."

The Gupta family is known to be close to President Jacob Zuma. The president's son, Duduzane, also sits on several companies linked to the Guptas.

In previous initial media reports, Transnet had paid R17.5 million for 18 New Age breakfast sessions and Eskom R7.2 million to sponsor six sessions.

The sponsorships were made between November 2011 and 2012.