Lynne Brown must terminate Eskom's New Age sponsorship with extreme prejudice - Natasha Michael

DA MP says it is alarming the SOE would agree to spend R43m sponsoring Gupta business breakfasts

DA calls on Lynne Brown to rescind Eskom's sponsorship of New Age business breakfasts

27 October 2014

I will today write to the Minister of Public Enterprise, Lynne Brown, requesting that Eskom's R43 million sponsorship of New Age business breakfasts be rescinded without delay (see M&G report). 

It is alarming that Eskom would agree to sponsor these business breakfasts, which have no operational outcomes for Eskom, when the entity has had to beg government for a R20 billion cash infusion and another R250 billion loan guarantees. 

Minister Nene said in his medium-term budget statement last week Wednesday that the government's support for Eskom would include the sale of non-strategic assets. He said there was already an inter-ministerial task team looking at how Eskom was running its finances and that the aim was to make it more efficient. This sponsorship deal should be the first item on the task team's agenda. If the Minister was serious about belt-tightening then such wasteful expenditure must be curtailed. 

It is public knowledge that the New Age business breakfasts are a convenient cash cow for the Gupta-owned New Age newspaper, with enormous sponsorships primarily coming from government entities. This is not surprising, given the close links between the Gupta's and President Zuma. 

The business model is obvious for all to see: The New Age provides friendly coverage to the ANC and ANC-run governments, whilst the ANC rewards the paper with massive government sponsorships. 

It is shameful that a struggling entity like Eskom has now also been pulled into this arrangement, even as consumers are expected to pay more and more for electricity. 

Interim CEO, Colin Matjila, has made way for the permanent appointment of Tshediso Matona. He was however primarily responsible for approving this wasteful exercise. With Matjila out of the way, Brown should lead the charge to have this deal rescinded. 

Government should be doing everything it can to stop the waste at Eskom. It is not right to force bruising increases in electricity prices onto consumers while simultaneously spending lavishly on rewarding your political and business allies. We call on Lynne Brown's urgent intervention. 

Statement issued by Natasha Michael MP, DA Shadow Minister Public Enterprises, October 27 2014

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