Nco Dube
Nco Dube


Politics is a dirty game. It’s so dirty that no one, absolutely no one can play it and come out smelling like roses. DA leader and Western Cape Premier Helen Zille is learning the hard way. I’m not sure if it’s sheer arrogance, which has characterised DA politics in recent times, or just plain naiveté that she thought no one would follow the story.

True to form, after newspaper reports that Telkom, Eskom and Transnet had spent at least R27-million sponsoring the New Age’s breakfast functions and advertisements, the DA announced that Zille was pulling out of a scheduled appearance and duly condemned the sponsorship as corrupt.

I agree that it’s a bit odd that the functions were sponsored exclusively by the state-owned enterprises but the blame for that cannot be put on the newspaper itself but on the parastatals. The DA argument that it’s corrupt for a business to seek sponsorship when it can cover its costs from the ticket sales is shoddy and disingenuous. Businesses always seek sponsorship. The New Age is a private business that seeks to make a profit so why should it limit its sponsorship potential.

The issue should be whether the parastatals followed proper protocols in sponsoring the events and did they benefit as envisaged through such sponsorships?

After pulling out of the scheduled appearance Premier Zille claimed she didn’t know in the past that the functions were sponsored by the parastatals. The New Age hit back by releasing a video of the premier thanking Telkom for sponsoring a function she’d appeared in a year ago, possibly through sponsorship. This did not appear to faze Zille as she stubbornly accused the New Age of siphoning money from the government via its relationship with the ANC and President Jacob Zuma.

This has been an amusing little circus — the premier caught in a lie in every corner. Next it emerged she’d received donations from the same Gupta family. Seemingly it’s OK to get money for her party from the very same people she accuses of corruptly siphoning money from the government.

When I pointed this contradiction to her on twitter she responded: “That would assume we had received money from them after we found out about the siphoning of public money. Get logical pls.” This is odd seeing that the premier has been accusing the Guptas of benefitting corruptly from the government through their relationship with President Jacob Zuma since at least 2009 and she knowingly took money from them since then until at least 2011.

In her statement released a few days later Zille claimed she went to the Gupta house to meet the mystery donor (she has since named the donor in public in contrast to DA policy as Sahara Computers chief executive Stefan Nel) who turned out to be a Gupta company executive and received a cheque from him. She claims the DA sent a letter of thanks to the Guptas as courtesy because she had had dinner at their house.

The not-so-mysterious donor denies this. According to the latest media reports he claims the premier knew the donation was from the Guptas and that he was merely facilitating it as a Gupta employee. He also claims the money came from Sahara Holdings (main Gupta company) and not his pocket.

What has been most interesting about the Zillegate scandal is how the mainstream media have handled it. Gone are the experts and commentators who offer their invaluable opinion and analysis on any matter and all we see is the vilification of their own, the New Age, and the carrying of Zille’s responses to the last full stop without the usual comment and analysis.

This has gone as far as the twitter hashtag used for the scandal being #infogate. This was chosen by the DA and picked up by journalists and media as gospel. The very same journalists who claim independence have come up with a number of nametags before like #nkandlagate etc but when it comes to this there is no #Zillegate. They follow what the DA desires the scandal to be called.

It would be naïve to believe we have a free and balanced media in this country. With the reporting on the Zille-Gupta story the media have stooped to their lowest.

It’s clear the New Age is suffering for its perceived sympathetic stance towards the government and ANC. What’s wrong with this in an environment where almost all media outlets are sympathetic to the opposition?

As for Zille and the DA, they’ve shown that in politics it’s difficult to keep a totally clean nose and to hold themselves to the same standards they hold the ruling party. But why is this so difficult?

Zille claimed that publicly outing the DA’s funders would invite the wrath of the ANC and result in the death of smaller political parties. Only the DA and ANC are opposed to disclosing their funders. The rest have, for years now, called for transparency.

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    • LittleBobPete


      Sorry bud, but I think oyu have missed the boat here.

      That the mainstream media is percieved as being anti-government is because the Government of the day is constantly giving the media ammunition to use in creating the perception.
      That the New Age is pro-Government is generally skewed reporting and editorialising.

      If the New Age (and yes, your right, they are in business to make profit) made their profits from selling papers and advertising space then no-one would have a leg to stand on. Breakfasts sponsorship is not what one would call normal business for a paper. It would most probably be an extraordinary item on their income statement, well it should be!
      If this was such a good deal from a sponsorship point of view, then why is it ONLY parastatals and provincial governments who seemed to have sponsored, why havent many other corporate’s and multi-nationals done the same thing……why……because they see no value in it, thats why……
      I care less about Helen Zille accepting cash from people of questionable morals and business ethics than I do our Parastatals (who generally have monopolistic businesses anyway) and our provincial governments sponsoring breakfasts where people are already paying for them. They have NO need to even advertise….the public have no choice but to use them!

      Poor article bud!!

    • Skerrminkel

      Your criticism of the news media in general is fair. They do seem to fall for every red herring that the politicians throw at them.

      The main issue here remains how much TNA received from government and how much does JZ receive from the Guptas.

      At least Zille told us how much she received from a Gupta employee. Something like R500k? Also, she gave us her version of the details up front. We are still waiting for the mafia, sorry, ANC, to give the public anything.

      Then again, I am sure Zille does not need me to defend her!

    • Mr. Direct

      I think political party funding should be transparent. I would love to know who pulls the strings. Perhaps doing so would debunk one of Dave Harris’ new rants about the secret white masters of the ANC.

      I think Ms. Zille does seem a bit foolish to highlight the Gupta relationship to New Age if she has accepted monies from a known employee or a Gupta company. And if she genuinely did not know, then she has failed to do proper research on donors which is just as bad, if not worse.

      I think the major news agencies have reported this story, and rightly so. Over the top? No, but she is only opposition leader and not the president of the country (although we will all use the colour thing because it cannot be refuted).

      But, it has clearly not compromised her stance on reporting such irregularities, so it would seem that these donations do not come with a “scratch my back” type condition. A silver lining around a dark cloud perhaps.

    • Garg Unzola

      It’s great that Zille is revealed to be just as dirty as the other political scumbags, but all of this is a sideshow that dodges the real topic: Why are businesses having bribe breakfasts with political heavy weights in the first place?

      I like the idea of broadcasting this (free) on SABC because that poor parastatal is of no real use to anyone, yet we are forced to pay TV licenses and they parasite off our taxes that could be spent on say, school textbooks instead.

      The notion of having an exorbitant breakfast where one may whisper in the ears of your favourite political fat cat just doesn’t sit well with me. Why do we even have elections when decisions are taken by those with the most open pockets in favour of those with the most gracious gifts?

      A politician is a politician. They’re all the same, it’s just the colour of their t-shirts that differ.

    • ian shaw

      The New Age declined to publicize their circulation figures, while it is known that they are giving away stacks of papers for free and very few people buy them, precisely because they are very clearly ANC lackeys. To make a profit, they must resort to “breakfasts” for sponsorships which is.gladly supplied by their real sponsor, the ANC. Finished and klaar.

    • Ngelengele


      I believe you’ve missed the point here, which is the total hypocrisy of Zille and DA in that they believe it’s good when THEY deal with shady business people (and deny it) but not the ANC, alsothat THEY are the only party that the media should be sympathetic to and not the ANC. The trick of pointing towards parastatals and government is the usual DA tectic of shouting “FIRE” whenever cornered. The media has always fallen to these tricks like you have, obviously.

      The fact remains, they cannot be trusted either, period.

    • ntozakhona


      The New Age has exposed Zille for what the majority of South African voters has always known her to be, a liar who hides behind arrogance and ceremony.

      However the big issue here is not really the series of lies the New Age has been exposing daily but the media ownership patterns in South Africa.

      We are fed a Bantu Education and Josef Goebels type of news and reporting that seeks to whitewash the evils of apartheid apologists. Serious government intervention is needed ro promote alternative media otherwise the social cohesion project remains in jeorpady.

      Really when you read the robotic responses of the likes of LittleBobPete it is sad to realise how fellow South Africans are being brainwashed.

    • MarkP

      Oy LittleBobPete! Your high-flying contortions are making me possibly vertiginous. Face up to it – Zille screwed up. As did TNA. get over the fact that Helen is dirty.

    • The Creator

      It is unsurprising that the media backs the DA uncritically. But it is a little surprising that Zille is so utterly dishonest on the matter, is behaving like such a weasel. It’s not as if the support of the Guptas is so vital to the DA that she couldn’t have said something like “Yes, that was silly of me, I should never have allowed the DA to accept money from such people and I won’t do it again — but after all, it wasn’t much money and most of our funding comes from reliably right-wing white people”.

      Instead she’s getting all outraged at being found out and exposed and having the truth told about her. The impression created is that she’s so completely accustomed to having a free ride from all condemnation that she’s forgotten how to deal with criticism. Either that, or she’s a lot more unstable on her perch than she looks to an outsider, and she has to hang tough (like Tony Leon did when he was caught accepting donations from that German fraudster Jurgen Harksen).

    • Tofolux

      @Nco, the problem with these journos and analysts of doom is that they believe that ordinary citizens are stupid. They seem to think that any wrongdoing of the above can be manipulated and ”white-washed”. They are surely in for a surprise. A case in point is the scenes at Goodman gallery. The extent of the anger felt by old and young, white and black should have given them some indication that they r getting it wrong. And yet they want to tell us that this thing is satire and imagery as if we have never been expose to art, books or paintings. Furthermore, we have seen them sing this song ”they are corrupt”. Not only have these very ”intelligent” people not picked up on the age-old nuances of the politics of race in this song, it seems that there is no person in the industry who is willing to grace this industry with bravery, objectivity or honesty. If they care to dig a little deeper in the WC govt and the Council, they will uncover corruption on a huge scale ie with Patricia and Helen at the helm. The qualified audit report of WC education dept is a case in point. The problem however is that Zille is the construct of their anger, their angst, their arrogance and their belief that she is their ”freedom fighter'”. What they forget is history will deal with this construct and deal with them as well because ultimately it is history who will judge them. And yet it could have been so different, instead of succumbing to their internal fears, they could have…

    • Skumbuzo Mbhele

      @Ngelengele……………so you believe its 100% okay that parastatals pour millions into a black hole. These parastatals don’t need to sponsor anything, they hardly need to advertise. Thats the story that created this entire mess. Have these parastatals poured the same cash into the main stream media anywhere else for similar creative but unworthy events.
      You missed the point BUD, South Africa is not the only country where the political elite play both sides of the coin. That for me is less of an issue, its R500 000 from a private entity to the DA…………so what………….what about the R30 to R50 MILLION paid by parastatals, who are so badly managed they keep on coming back for handouts, with MY tax money.
      All politions are corrupt, the DA included, its the nature of the beast, they all lie and well maybe Zille has been caught out…………but lets ask the question……….so the DA has been caught out for R500 000………… much has the ANC been caught out for…………..
      @nthosokhano……..if you’re still being fed Bantu education after 19 years, why are you not asking your self the question……if this party can’t deliver then who can… get who you vote for…….
      South Africa will never move forward if all its citizens do is look backwards……………………..stop the blame game and ask yourself how you can make it better….

    • Garg Unzola

      Some food for thought: The same freedom of expression laws that allow one to see penis paintings also allows for the transparency by which we may hold the likes of Zille and Zuma accountable.

      If it weren’t for our freedom of expression laws, and the freedom of the press by extension, we may not see any penis paintings, but we also won’t know about the Guptas buttering their bread on both sides.

      Freedom fighters and all that liberation talk is what keeps our people dumbed down and in line. The struggle is over and it’s time to accept that.

    • Charlotte

      If ‘Zillegate’ means that Helen Zille shuts the gate on lies, deceit, corruption and incompetence that typifies the ANC, then it’s right.
      If it means she opens the gate (for which Mamphela Ramphela also holds the key) to a party which will provide a future of honesty, non-racism and equal opportunity for all, then its right.

      The ANC will grab at any straw – (not of course, from the crystal glasses at one of their exorbitantly expensive breakfasts where they celebrate getting away with blatant robbery) – to deflect from the glare of their unending rotten deals and performance.

      How can one even remotely compare the DA with the ANC and their disgustingly intolerable excuses and subterfuge? How can the lies and thievery that unifies ANC leaders and Zumafies the country be brushed away by trying to besmirch the integrity and dedication of Helen Zille ot every excuse they can muster?

    • Momma Cyndi

      Wow, I’ve been reading all the wrong media!

      From Sunday Times to Mail and Guardian and Daily Maverick, I’ve heard a pretty unbiased, well balanced and straight forward reporting on this. Their personal opinion columns haven’t exactly been glowing about Zille either.

      I think maybe people who are clueless about the media don’t realise that the job of the media is to REFLECT the news, Their job is not to be an active participant in it.

      Whilst Nco may be delighted to have his electricity bill go up so that Eishkom can squander money with sponsoring the New Age – I kinda object!

    • Hmmmmm?

      Still, who is the lesser of the 2 evils? DA or ANC?
      A contribution in 2009 vs constant stealing from the taxpayer?
      So many questions?
      What was the money used for? Were there special favours given to the contributors by the receivers of said donations?


    • ntozakhona

      Skhubuzo Mbhele

      Your type we have come to know, you throw untested allegations and once challenged you dissappear into thin air or probably your correspondence identity. None the less I have not accused the government of feeding us Bantu Education but the mainstream media of doing so. I hope you know who Josef Goebels was and what he represents, the context should have assisted you formulate a well thought out response than your dotted rantings.

      I had added that the government need to intervene to correct the skewed ownership of the means of information dissemination, the parastatals have begun fulfilling that responsibility by establishing a partnership with the alternative voice of the TNG. We need more alternative voices. The foregoing should also shed light on your misunderstanding of Dube’s concerns.

      Please note that Zille has made it look as if it is evil to receive donations from the Guptas whilst she was actively soliciting funds from them.

    • ntozakhona

      Ps Zille feigns outrage at ANC funding streams yet she remains steadfastly opposed to suggestions that party funding be made transparent. What is she hiding?

    • ntozakhona

      Garg Unzola

      The struggle is by no means over. The key objective of the ANC is the emancipation of black people in general and Africans in particular from political and economic bondage. Monopolistic ownership of the means of information dissemination represent political subjugation, the ANC method are to unshackle us through fair and legal means. Is it really neccessary to point out the economic bondage?

      “Our struggle is inspired by the suffering of the African people” said Nelson Mandela.

    • Charlotte

      Together with Helen Suzman and Helen Joseph, and as part of an amazing trio of South African ‘Helens’, Helen Zille will hopefully now form part of a wonderful trio of S.African women leaders – with Mamphela Ramphele and Lindiwe Mazibuko.

      Honourable mention as well to our public protector, Thuli Madonsela, who also stands up unafraid for what is honest, just and ethical – and for hard work.
      How proud we can be of these ladies!

    • Marianne de Leuca

      @ Nco Dube

      You are obviously convinced that Helen Zille is lying, and you see nothing corrupt in public funds being channeled through a privately owned and notoriously biased newspaper.

      Can you answer this question: Helen Zille is not stupid or naive. Why would she commit political suicide by lying about something which could so easily be proved or disproved? That doesn’t make sense to me, and personally I would give her the benefit of the doubt any day over the likes of the Guptas or any of their representatives.

      Eventually the truth will come out.

    • Skumbuzo Mbhele


      In am not sure which are untested allegations. I would openly debate any of these issues in full public with you. I am also not sure if you can accuratly state what “my type” are. As normal, attack the commentator and not the issues.
      I know full well who Joseph Goebbels was, I have read much on the subject. If you’re still using language like this 19 years into democracy then life in SA will surely pass you by. You will end up an angry old person.
      Instead of trying to take what someone else has created, why don’t you create something yourself.

    • Rory Short

      I am not happy with corruption because it destroys the fabric of society.

      It seems the DA, via Zille, received a donation from an executive who belongs in the Gupta business stable. That would only be questionable in my mind if the donation itself came from ill-gotten gains and I do not know if that is the case.

      The New Age is running business breakfasts it seems with the intention of putting business people in touch with political heavy weights.

      Firstly because corruption is so rife in our country I catch a whiff of possible future corrupt relations between government and business as a result of contacts made at the breakfasts. For that reason alone the breakfasts do not seem squeaky clean to me.

      Secondly the New Age besides charging for attendance at the breakfasts is getting millions of Rands in sponsorships for them and this money is coming from parastatals. I simply cannot see a commercial reason for the parastatals to enter into such sponsorships. They are monopolies after all whose customers have very little choice but to use their services so what have the parastatals commercially to gain from the sponsorships? i smell corruption at play here, money from parastatals, which could very well be public money that has been given as subsidies to the parastatal, is being used to buoy up The New Age a private business, blatant corruption.

    • Chris

      Nco you strike me as an individual who has been waiting a long time for the DA and HZ to stuff something up and by all accounts it seems like they have scored an own goal over Gupta, but if that’s the extent of their “arrogance” then give me the DA and HZ any day of the week over the comrades in Luthuli House who besides being avid readers of the New Age continue to eat cake while the country slips and slides towards a future that is not exactly full of promise.

    • ntozakhona

      Skhumbuzo ( That is how the many Skhumbuzo’s I know spell the name) Mbhele

      I have demonstrated in my response to you how you have distorted what I had written and how your uderstanding of issues being discussed is shallow. All you do is nit pick in an attempt to massage your bruised ego.

      It is not clear what you are advising me to create. Innovation and production of new knowledge are essential to the development of any society. These are however also built on existing body of knowledge. The changing of a society is a collaborative effort, if you have this dreamy notions of being an , dream on.

      You did not disappear as expected but came out saying a lot about nothing. Simple truth is that Zille has been caught with her hands groping in a territory she condemned as untouchable. Parastatals have a role to play in the transformation of thr country and if they deem breakfast shows to be a way of bringing state information to the people and stimulating informed debate then we must laud them than mimick the desperate Zille

      I have googled the name you use and maybe it is just a pen name but if it is yours ypu have yet to contribute to public debate and debating with you will be a shameful mismatch..

    • ntozakhona

      corrigenda dreamy notions of being an Atlas…

    • Free us from the ANC

      Nco, there are 2 important things to look at here. 1 is the fact that the parastatels have no need to advertize/sponsor anything. They are monopolies. 2 is the fact that the DA is in no position to deliver anything to the Gupta’s for their donation. Therefore it cannot be corruption….more like poor judgement.

      An own goal for the DA I agree, but let’s be realistic here.

      @ ntozakhona – the DA has challenged the ANC on a few occasions, to open up their books. they have expressed their desire to do so, but of course, only when the ANC agrees too. It seems like you just hear what you want, rather than the actual facts.

    • ntozakhona


      Helen Zille and Helen Suzman do not belong to the political school as Helen Joseph and Thuli Madonsela. The neo colonial liberal school of thought have a tendency to claim pprogressive democrats matyres as its own though these have always shown a disdain for such apologetical politics and thinking.

      Helen Joseph is a product of the politics of defiance and non collaboration which view apartheid colonialism as diabolical. She and her peers refused to have anything with apartheid and its intitutions. She consequently led a number of protests during the Defiance campaign side by side with the likes of Alertina Sisulu and Lillian Ngoyi and the recently departed Amina Cachalia. She supported sanctions against apartheid and appreciated the need o struggle when repression was intensified. She was buried in the early 90s by the ANC to which she remained loyal. I was at her memorial service at the Central Methodist Church.

      Ditto with Thuli Madonsela. She is an ANC member and a poltical appointee of the Zuma administration. She is a deployee and was brought up in ANC structures and understands that corruption and shoddy delivery is an anti-thesis of the national democratic revolution.Every time she exposes DA corruption Zille threatens court action whilst Pres Zuma has consistently implemented her reccomendations,

    • ntozakhona

      Free us from the ANC

      Ha, ha, ha very funny indeed. So the DA will only open its books when the ANC open its books? Where is principle in such behaviour? The ANC is advocating for a law that will compel all political parties ( not just the DA) to disclose their funding sources. Zille has as long ago as yesterday that it can only be supported when the DA is in power. Again where is principle in all that?

      So he DA has no princpled agenda apart from an anti-ANC demonisation project inherited from Voster Botha and de Klerk!!!!

    • Marianne de Leuca

      There is an article in Politicsweb which I think gives a reasonable and detailed explanation of the background to the donations made by Stephen Nel / Sahara to the DA :

      ‘Stephen Nel’s donations to the DA: The facts’

      Didn’t Stephen Nel say that all the donations were from Sahara to the DA and were made by electronic transfers (EFTs)?

      Yet there is a copy of a cheque drawn on his personal bank account for R200,000 dated 25/2/2009 made payable to the Democratic Alliance.

    • Tofolux

      @ntozakhona, I think that an obvious conclusion must be drawn from the arrogant defence of Zille’s ”chorus-singers”. They are prepared to defend the indefensible only because it serves their anti-black and anti-Anc agenda. However, the other issue that needs further discussion is the total biased behaviour of the fourth estate and their sustained programme of peddling in fear. Not only is it obvious that the above supporters are still under the fear factor(hehe) programme(see the hymnn sheet) but also that they are the most gullible. I totally get democracy, its practises and its principles. What is fundamental though, are we compromising our democracy by allowing the propping up of nefarious individuals? Also, to what extent are we not defending this very democracy that none of the above fought for? Personally, I think we need to be more vigilant. We have seen the anti-black campaign of Zille in WC of ”taking your City back” this whilst the Fourth Estate ignored and refused to interrogate that loaded message. We need to test the Fourth Estate and we should continuously criticise not only their obvious bias but also their ethics. We should do this in order to strengthen our society but also make the Fourth Estate better and more representative of the majority of the people who live in this democracy. In fact, Zille is a sympton of those who refuse to move towards social cohesion in our country.

    • ntozakhona


      Indeed perhaps as a movement we should interrogate the ownership of the means of information and knowledge production. You are correct that it is skewed in favour of those seeking to aintain the status quo of inequality and are not interested in genuine social cohesion.

      Whilst we gaurantee eveyone the freeedom of speech, we need to deliberately create avenues for alternative voices. Zille and her cohorts have realised that their ideas, if any, cannot stand the test of real public scrutiny hence a desperate attempt to silence the New Age and the popular live breakast shows to which they als have access – the only difference being there is no space for biased reporting there.

    • Skumbuzo Mbhele

      Oh Toffeeluks and Nozakhona………..there are none so blind as those that won’t see!!

    • Mr. Direct


      Yet somehow your defence of Mr. Zuma is always justified, while others defence for Ms. Zille is not. I do not think Ms. Zille has handled this very well, but the whole topic is tiny compared to the stink Mr. Zuma has following him. Please do not insult your own intelligence.


      These people are politicians, not movie stars or talk show hosts. I think parliment is the correct place to debate serious topics, not in pathetic, overpriced New Age breakfasts. Perhaps this is where the scrutiny should be done, but according to news reports, the ANC have a small issue discussing real topics in this forum.

      If the ANC were so principled, why are they not openly showing their funding now? Oooopps….

    • Charlotte

      ntozakhona. Do you also split hairs discussing the difference between ‘bread and butter’, or ‘bread with butter’ or ‘butter on bread’ or ‘buttered bread’?
      … Oh, I forgot. We must also sift out if it’s brown or white bread, wholewheat or rye – the calories; where it was made, who delivered it; on which shelf it was put; was the brown next to the white? did it have the same space? and – oh yes, the price of the bread! We haven’t gone into that …
      And after the bread is stale, we discover it was the rancid ANC butter smeared on it (or the rancid ANC buttered bread) that caused the cANCer .

      While you are so busy nitpicking about some of the the women I mentioned – (noticeably absent – the ANC’s Minister of Education), worthy of the country’s highest respect are, amongst many others, Helen Suzman Helen Joseph, Helen Zille Mamphela Ramphele, Lindiwe Mazibuko, Thuli Madonsela, Patricia de Lille and more …. Educated, honest and committed, they did not involve themselves in politics to line their own pockets, as do the present ANC.
      Where these ladies represent the zenith of hard work, integrity and achievement, the ANC represents the nadir.
      Far removed from the ANC which Nelson Mandela envisaged and fought for, they have simply hijacked the acronym – now standing for “Arrogance, Nepotism, Corruption’.

    • C.C.Inc.

      @ not so aikona. …. So your information and opinions are garnered from the dissembling brain-washing of The New Age? It figures.

      @ Toofull … How many tired-old ‘hymn-sheet’ cliches can you pack into one comment? Ever had an original thought? … Ever thought anything outside your own racism? And isn’t your ANC ‘masser’ supposed to be non-racist? Or is that just written in their hymn-sheets?