CAPE TOWN, August 24 – The African National Congress (ANC) on Thursday congratulated Mzwanele Jimmy Manyi’s Lodidox Management on the pending acquisition of Gupta-owned television news channel ANN7 and The New Age newspaper from Oakbay Investments.
In a joint statement issued on Monday, Oakbay Investments said the deal with former government spokesman Manyi was for R450 million and was expected to be concluded over the next few weeks.
On Thursday, the ANC said it remained “committed to preserving the cordial and constructive relationship with the new owners of these media institutions”.
“As declared in the 2017 January 8th Statement, “the ANC is unwavering in our defence of freedom of the press and the media, likewise, should report fairly and factually”.
The agreement to buy ANN7 and The New Age was, according to Oakbay, part of its 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.”
Manyi’s company, Lodidolox Management company is acquiring ANN7 for R300 million and The New Age for R150 million.
Manyi, a staunch supporter of President Jacob Zuma, also heads African National Congress-facilitated business networking organisation, the Progressive Professionals Forum (PPF).
”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,” said Manyi.
“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.”
The controversial Gupta family, who are at the centre of state capture allegations, have other business interests in mining, hospitality, energy and information technology (IT).
The Guptas were forced to seek services of a foreign bank, Bank of Baroda, last year after South Africa’s four major banks closed all accounts of their companies. Bank of Baroda has since ceased business with companies owned by the politically exposed family.
On Wednesday, Oakbay Investments also announced that it had sold its interest in Tegeta Exploration and Resources to the Swiss-based Charles King SA for R2.97 billion in a bid “to save employees’ jobs”.
Tegeta, comprising of Optimum, Koornfontein, and Optimum Coal Terminal, is under scrutiny after Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba ordered National Treasury to do a forensic probe into its coal contract with Eskom.
The sale of Tegeta, which is owned by owned by President Jacob Zuma’s son Duduzane and the Gupta family, is subject to regulatory requirements and fulfilment of conditions in the agreement which is expected to be completed within 12 months.
Charles King owner, Amin Al Zarooni, said that South African mining opportunities were an “extremely attractive” proposition and that his company had been looking for a long time to invest in the country.
– African News Agency (ANA)