Guptas ‘sell’ ANN7, New Age to Zuma defender Mzwanele Manyi for R450m

Mzwanele Jimmy Manyi

JOHANNESBURG — Former government spokesperson Mzwanele ‘Jimmy’ Manyi is not shy about communicating his political views on Twitter. Manyi has become known as a staunch Zuma and Gupta defender, and he is a regular ‘analyst’ on the ANN7 television news station. Now, just after the Bank of Baroda decided to pull the plug on the Guptas, the family has announced that it’s decided to sell its media outfits, The New Age and ANN7, to Manyi for a combined R450m. Seeing as Manyi is so closely linked to the Guptas, the question now is whether the Guptas, despite changing ownership, will still have control of their mouthpieces. Also, are they just tapping Manyi because his company bank accounts haven’t been blocked? Nevertheless, it’s a bizarre move that will spark more questions than answers. – Gareth van Zyl 

By Fin24

Cape Town – A firm owned by Mzwanele Manyi has bought Gupta-owned media units ANN7 and The New Age, it was announced on Monday.

Gupta-owned Oakbay Investments said in a statement that Manyi-owned Lodidox bought ANN7 (Infinity Media) for R300m and The New Age (TNA Media) for R150m.

The agreement is expected to be concluded over the next few weeks, subject to any regulatory requirements, Oakbay said.

The sale comes as the Bank of Baroda pulls its plug on Gupta-owned firms, and after South Africa’s top four banks blacklisted the group’s accounts in 2016.

An entrance to the ANN7 Television and The New Age newspaper offices, owned by the Gupta family, is seen in Midrand, Johannesburg, April 14, 2016. REUTERS/Siphiwe Sibeko

“The sale is part of Oakbay’s commitment to preserve jobs and provide certainty to over 7 500 hard-working employees throughout the group and to safeguard the inherent value of the businesses in which they work.   

“Under a new majority shareholder, Oakbay believes that both businesses and their employees will have the bright and prosperous future they deserve. The sale will also allow the shareholder the time to focus on clearing its name in the face of unfounded media allegations,”  the firm said.

“We are delighted to have reached an agreement with Lodidox and the management team; the sale of our shareholdings will secure the future of these businesses and help preserve the jobs of their employees,” said Oakbay Investments acting CEO Ronica Ragavan.  

“Both businesses are inherently sound and well positioned for growth in their respective market segments. We wish them every success in the future.”

Manyi said: “I am delighted to have reached agreement with Oakbay and look forward to successfully completing the deal.  

“These are two strong businesses which are full of potential and, under the right external circumstances, can become an increasingly important and relevant part of the South African media landscape.  

“In addition, I am particularly impressed that the shareholders of Oakbay have agreed to do a vendor financing at acceptable terms as part of their commitment to transformation and to expedite the transaction.”

Media statement from Save South Africa: 

ANN7 deal shows what a sham ‘radical economic transformation’ really is

The “sale” of the Guptas’ propaganda machine to Jimmy Manyi is an outrageous example of what Jacob Zuma and his cronies really mean when they talk about “radical economic transformation”.

It is nothing less than blatant fronting, and a disgrace to the notion of real black economic empowerment.

The Save South Africa campaign is not surprised by this deal. It is true to form for the crony capitalists who are clustered around Zuma.

The truth is that the Gupta family is using vendor finance to effectively pay Manyi to take ANN7 and The New Age off its hands. Given that most of the family’s money has been siphoned from the public purse, they are effectively using dirty public money to hand over an asset from one rogue business to another, and using a questionable financial model to do so.

From a media point of view, ANN7 and The New Age are contaminated propaganda vehicles and highly damaged brands. And if the Guptas, or the Zuma clique, believe a change in ownership will change perceptions of their propaganda arms, they can forget it. Under Manyi – a failed talkshow host on the channel until recently – it will just be more of the same.


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