Zille calls for 'New Age' funding probe

Helen Zille wants a judicial commission of inquiry to look into the funding of the New Age newspaper.

DA leader Helen Zille. Picture: Aletta Gardner/EWN

CAPE TOWN - Democratic Alliance (DA) leader Helen Zille on Wednesday said she has written to President Jacob Zuma asking him to appoint a judicial commission of inquiry to investigate the funding of the New Age newspaper.

She said over the past six months, her party has been collecting information about how the newspaper is actually funded.

The publication is owned by the Gupta family, who are known to be close with Zuma.

Zille said the paper received at least R64.4 million from government in the form of advertising and sponsorships.

In recent days, she pulled out of a New Age business briefing because the event was being sponsored by state-owned enterprises.

The DA leader has also been in the spotlight recently after her party allegedly received funding from the Gupta family.

However, she denies this saying the opposition party received R400,000 from an employee with links to the family.

She said the donation was made from a personal bank account.

Zille refused to name the donor, saying it was against DA policy.

She said she now wants an investigation into the matter.

"The revelation that the apartheid government was funding a newspaper to paddle propaganda brought down a prime minister and a Cabinet minister. If President Zuma truly wants to restore the integrity of his office, he will subject the _New Age _to the same levels of scrutiny."

Meanwhile, it emerged that the office of Gauteng Premier Nomvula Mokonyane forked out R700,000 for one breakfast briefing in 2012.

This follows previous revelations that Transnet paid about R17.5 million to sponsor 18 breakfast briefings, while Eskom paid R7.2 million to sponsor six sessions between November 2011 and 2012.