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The Free State government channelled about R79m into Gupta-owned media companies during the time it was headed by Ace Magashule, who was linked over the weekend with an alleged plot to oust President Cyril Ramaphosa. The province had paid R79.3m — just R20m less than the total for national departments — to The New Age newspaper and Infinity Media, which housed the former ANN7 television station — the Zondo commission of inquiry into state capture heard on Monday. In total, the Gupta media businesses received about R260m from the government, according to testimony by Treasury official Jan Gilliland. Magashule, who the Sunday Times reported met former president Jacob Zuma and others at a Durban hotel to plot a reversal of the election of Ramaphosa at the ANC’s Nasrec conference, was chairman of the governing party in the Free State from 1992 and premier for the last decade.

He only left the province after he was elected the party’s secretary-general in December 2017, at the same...

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