Dead in the water: Gupta, Manyi newspaper suddenly shuts down

JOHANNESBURG — You may be happy to hear that the Gupta newspaper – ‘The New Age’ turned ‘Afro Voice’ under new boss and Zuma supporter Mzwanele ‘Jimmy’ Manyi – will no longer be freely dished out at local airport check-in gates, or for that matter anywhere, ever again. The paper became synonymous for being a propaganda mouth-piece of the Zuptas. The Guptas have long left South Africa with the weeds growing high in the parking lot of their abandoned Sahara office block along the N1 Ben Schoeman highway in Midrand. But as they left, they handed Manyi a poisoned chalice, a media asset that would inevitably become redundant in a post-Zuma world. The newspaper has already shut down and the odds aren’t looking good for Manyi’s television station either. – Gareth van Zyl

By Paul Vecchiatto

(Bloomberg) – South Africa’s Afro Voice newspaper will publish its last edition on Friday, less than a year after the Gupta family sold the publication’s publisher to an ally of former President Jacob Zuma, according to two people familiar with the matter.

Staff of the newspaper, which was formerly known as The New Age and re-branded in April, were told about the decision at the company’s head office in Johannesburg on Thursday, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the information isn’t public. The staff have been told to take a month’s leave, pending a final decision, said the people.

File Photo: An entrance to the ANN7 Television and The New Age newspaper offices in Midrand, Johannesburg. REUTERS/Siphiwe Sibeko

Oakbay Investments Ltd., which was owned by the Guptas, a family who are friends with Zuma and in business with one of his sons, sold the paper to Mzwanele Manyi in August. Manyi, a former government spokesman, is a regular political commentator and has been one of the most prominent supporters of the campaign against so-called “white monopoly capital,” advocated by Zuma.

Manyi was said to be unavailable for comment when a call to his phone was answered.

The Gupta family, headed by three brothers, left South Africa earlier this year. They have been accused of using their political connections to influence government decisions and loot state coffers. Zuma and the Guptas has denied wrongdoing.