Staff at former Gupta owned ANN7 and The New Age are reportedly upbeat following news of a takeover by former government spin doctor Mzwanele Manyi.
“Manyi met with all staff today (Tuesday) and reassured us that our jobs are safe, which came as a relief to us all as we have been in limbo for a long time,” one staffer who did not want to be named told News24.
“We all have been living month-to-month, with many of us contemplating our futures elsewhere, but in these tough times, finding other employment has not been easy.
“I’m told that the new boss is also looking at recruiting fresh new staff to bolster our team and I hope our salaries will also be reviewed.”
Social media frenzy
The sale of the Guptas’ media business for R450m sparked a social media frenzy with some criticising the deal and questioning how Manyi could afford the asking price – despite the deal being ‘vendor financed’. In effect, Manyi is indebted to the Guptas for the purchase price and has agreed to repay this over five years – without having to outlay the capital outright.
There has also been concern over whether the deal was simply a tactic to convince the Bank of Baroda and other potential bankers to accept the media companies as clients, following the closure of their business accounts by several banks.
Manyi, well known for his twitter posts and defence of President Jacob Zuma and the Guptas, has been highly critical of ‘white monopoly capital’ – a reference to white owned corporates in South Africa.
Taking on mainstream media following the surprise news of his ownership of the Gupta media titles, Manyi moved quickly to defend the deal and outline his vision.
In a television interview on eNCA’s The Justice Factor, he insisted he would ensure objectivity and integrity of news, adding that he would also use his new media empire as a platform to communicate government news.
Manyi also took aim at his critics saying they were opposing real transformation and accused mainstream media – including eNCA, of constantly broadcasting negative news about South Africa.
In his trademark confident style, Manyi also tried to recruit host Justice Malala, offering to double his salary if he were to join his team.
The take-over by Manyi also prompted EFF – well known for refusing to speak to journalists from Gupta owned media – to reiterate their calls for a boycott of both ANN7 and the New Age newspaper.
“We are not blind to the fact that Manyi will continue the business of fake news and reporting that characterises the Gupta media empire,” said the EFF in a statement.
“This is because Manyi himself has been central to false propaganda and the defence of Zupta corruption that is killing many state institutions. He is the cheerleader of kleptocracy and a mascot of the Zupta corruption.”
While some have called the deal ‘fronting for the Guptas’ and questioned the sale as ‘dubious’, supporters of Manyi’s ownership have welcomed the news, calling it the first black owned media in the country.