There was nothing wrong with its Progressive Business Forum (PBF), the African National Congress (ANC) said in reaction to claims that it was selling access to senior public representatives and public servants.
"The information provided to PBF members is public information," said ANC spokesperson Smuts Ngonyama.
The Sunday Times reported that the PBF had 2 000 paid-up members and promised businesses knowledge of "upcoming government decisions".
It was run from ANC headquarters Albert Luthuli House in Johannesburg where a call centre processed applicants.
It offered "silver", "gold" or "platinum" membership for between R3 000 and R7 000. Big companies were charged between R12 500 and R60 000.
An agent told the newspaper that members were better placed to succeed in business than non-members.
They gained insight into what the government was doing and why and learnt of "upcoming government decisions".
The scheme "appears tantamount to putting public officials up for sale to beef up the ANC's coffers", the Sunday Times wrote in its editorial.
full story from M&G here