Media owner Mzwanele Jimmy Manyi says he has paid the controversial Gupta family everything he owes them for news channel ANN7 and The New Age newspaper.
The former government spokesman said in a statement released at the weekend he hoped the move would "put to rest any suspicions of lingering involvement" by the Gupta family in the media company. The move was to save 500 jobs at the media company.
Manyi bought the newspaper and TV channel from the Guptas’ Oakbay business with R450m that the Guptas lent him in a vendor financing deal.
His statement explained that the amount owed had been renegotiated‚ lowered and then settled in full.
ANN7 spokesperson Gugu Masinga confirmed the amount paid to clear the debt was lower that the R450m Manyi had borrowed.
In a statement released on Saturday night‚ Manyi’s company‚ Afrontone Media Holdings‚ said: "Consequently‚ Afrotone Media Holdings’ ownership of Infinity Media Networks‚ ANN7 and The New Age is now debt free and unencumbered. As a truly South African 100% black-owned and managed company‚ these developments strengthen Afrotone Media Holdings’ position to realise the benefits of this strategic acquisition."
Manyi also said in the statement that he had informed MultiChoice that he owned the company in full.
ANN7 will no longer be on MultiChoice’s DStv from September‚ meaning it has nowhere to broadcast its shows.
MultiChoice ended the contract with ANN7 after the Gupta leaks showed Multichoice had paid ANN7 R141m a year and controversially paid R25m to the Guptas.
Manyi’s statement said he was "rebranding" and he hoped his debt-free ownership would give the market confidence to avert potential job losses for 500 young, black employees.