/ 6 July 2010

Gupta Group to launch new daily newspaper

The Gupta Group, which has close links to the ANC, will launch a new national daily newspaper in September, Business Day reported on Tuesday.

The daily, to be called the New Age, will be edited by former Business Day reporter Vuyo Mvoko.

Former minister in the presidency, Essop Pahad, was one of the people behind the new newspaper, which will be funded by the Gupta Group.

Pahad — a close ally of former president Thabo Mbeki — publishes the Thinker magazine, also a Gupta Group product.

He said the newspaper “is not, and will not be, affiliated by the ANC [African National Congress]”.

Reports of high-level meeting
The Mail & Guardian reported in April this year that the Gupta’s were considering launching a newspaper.

Tony Gupta, speaking on behalf of his brother Atul, said at the time that they had hired advisers and were conducting a feasibility study.

Gupta was responding to queries from amaBhungane concerning a meeting at Atul Gupta’s Saxonwold, Johannesburg, home allegedly involving Gupta, or his brother, Ajay; South African President Jacob Zuma; and Jessie Duarte, Zuma’s chief operating officer at the time.

The Gupta group controls Sahara Computers.

A well-placed source claimed that Zuma and Duarte attended a meeting at Gupta’s home on February 20 this year and that a newspaper was under discussion.

The source claimed that a lawyer was also present to give advice on possible legal obstacles to providing government advertising to support the publication.

Duarte denied attending such a meeting.

Tony Gupta also denied Duarte or Zuma’s involvement. He insisted that the newspaper idea was “not an ANC project” and that no such meeting with Zuma took place.