JOHANNESBURG – Former ANN7 news editor Rajesh Sundaram has told the state capture commission of inquiry that former President Jacob Zuma was instrumental in ensuring the success of the SABC’s New Age (TNA) business breakfast briefings.
Sundaram was testifying at the inquiry on Monday afternoon about his experience at the Gupta-owned channel.
The former editor said Zuma went to the extent of convincing his ministers to fund and participate in the meetings.
The TNA business breakfast briefings were known for drawing high-profile government officials, such as ministers, and were broadcast live on SABC TV. Government departments and struggling state-owned entities often sponsored the meetings.
But as Sundaram explained, some ministers were not keen to associate themselves with the Guptas.
“Some ministers had a lot of reservations about doing that since there was a lot of bad press that the Gupta family was getting,” he said.
And that’s where Zuma stepped in.
“They wanted the president to ask his ministerial colleagues to attend those briefings because they didn’t want the profitability of that venture to stop,” Sundaram said.
The SABC has since stopped the briefings after revealing they cost the public broadcaster around R20 million with no return whatsoever for the corporation.