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Zille sets the record straight

Helen Zille has come clean on the money she received from a donor linked to the Gupta family.

Helen Zille. Picture: Catherine Rice/EWN

CAPE TOWN - Democratic Alliance (DA) Leader Helen Zille on Tuesday accused the New Age newspaper of pursuing a vendetta against her after she pulled out of its business breakfast briefing.

In recent days, the Western Cape Premier has been accused of being a hypocrite for allegedly taking money from the influential owners of the newspaper.

Zille set the record straight by revealing her party did not receive a donation from the Gupta family.

Instead, she said a senior executive at a company owned by the Guptas donated money to the DA in his personal capacity.

But after receiving three donations she decided to decline any more offers because of his link to the Guptas.

Zille said in the run up to the 2009 elections, a senior executive at one of the Gupta companies, gave her party R200,000.

She said the donor asked her to collect the money at the Gupta's Saxonworld home in northern Johannesburg.

Zille said the third time he made a donation, the cheque was made out in the name of the company he worked for.

She then became concerned about receiving money from the donor and subsequently declined three more offers.

"In 2011, 2012 and 2013 I turned down money from that same donor."

Zille explained she decided to pull out of the New Age business breakfast because it was being sponsored by state-owned enterprises to the tune of millions of rands.

"I said I can't be part of this, I have to withdraw and they've been running an unbelievable vendetta against me ever since. We're taking it to the press ombudsman."

Zille said she could not reveal the name of the donor as it was against DA policy.

She also hit out at the media for creating "a scandal where there is none."

PREVIOUS REPORTS

According to 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.

Zille said she was not aware of this when she took part in those breakfasts.

The New Age released a video clip of Zille thanking Telkom during one of its breakfast sessions.

While some have now accused her of being hypocritical, Zille denies this.

"Millions of rands of public funds are being channelled to a private business, under the disguise of sponsorship.

"There's a conflict of interest if a donor gives money to a political party, that then channels state money back to the donor - that is the issue."

She said it is the DA's policy not to reveal its donors.

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