NEWS & ANALYSIS

Muthambi refuses to disclose Gupta meetings – Phumzile van Damme

DA says minister has a duty to answer parliamentary questions truthfully and to the best of her ability

Muthambi refuses to disclose Gupta meetings

Minister Faith Muthambi is refusing to disclose whether the top management of the entities reporting to her, including the SABC, have ever met with the Guptas.

In a reply to a DA parliamentary question requesting information about whether the CEOs, CFOs and other top management of the entities reporting to her, have ever met with the Guptas or their representatives, the Minister responds: "from all government entities including those reporting to the Ministry of Communications, requires engagement with various stakeholders in the public and private sector. This is in line with the nature of work undertaken"

While this reply can be assumed to be a tacit admission that the meetings with the Gupta’s did happen, the DA will re-submit the question to the Minister to ensure that we receive a clear, unequivocal response.

This is a very easy question. The Minister must answer yes or no, if she has nothing to hide.

It must also be noted that the SABC was one of the entities named in the State of Capture report which detailed that “SABC has since entered into a partnership agreement with the (Gupta-owned) New Age newspaper and government departments, including Ministers are required to pay either SABC, New Age newspaper and/or the relevant partnership to appear on SABC for purposes of communication with the nation.” This relationship was also confirmed by Minister Mbalula during an interview.

Furthermore, the DA revealed in May this year that the SABC had spent close to a million on subscriptions to the Gupta-owned newspaper, The New Age (TNA), which amounted
to a tripling in the SABC’s financial support of TNA from R238 356,52 in 2011.

The Minister has a duty to answer parliamentary questions truthfully and to the best of her ability.

The DA will continue to push the Minister to fulfil her duties and to answer a very simple but vital question as to whether she, and the top management of the entities reporting to her, have been captured.

Issued by Phumzile Van Damme, DA Shadow Minister of Communications, 30 November 2016