Manyi defends state advertising spend on Gupta newspaper
Mzwanele Manyi has defended government advertising spend on media entities linked to the Gupta family when he was head of the Government Communication and Information System (GCIS) in 2011 and 2012.
Manyi told the commission of inquiry into state capture on Monday that if anybody accused him of encouraging government ad-spend to be diverted to the Gupta-owned The New Age (TNA) newspaper, he would not deny it.
"If anyone was to come here and say Manyi encouraged me, I would not come here and deny that. Government has invested in a lot of equipment. A lot of money has been spent by government to ensure they use media as a partner ... but media is not of the same mind," he said.
"When you have a paper like TNA, which has a different posture in terms of a glass half full, it was a very welcome project."
Manyi described how TNA offered a different narrative from mainstream media and produced province-specific news. Defending government advertising spend on TNA in the 2011/2012 financial year, Manyi said the total bill was R194m, about R8m of which went to TNA.
"The narrative out there is that TNA was gobbling up all government money. My response here is to show they got what they got, but let’s not create the impression that this newspaper gobbled up all of government advertising," he said.
Manyi asked the commission that he be allowed to go through his statement before receiving questions. His testimony is continuing.