News / South Africa

Gosebo Mathope
3 minute read
1 Feb 2018
12:30 pm

Manyi to challenge Multichoice’s decision to drop ANN7 from DStv bouquet – report

Gosebo Mathope

Manyi says ANN7 is not going down, and come August 21 their doors will be open, and it will be business as usual.

Mzwanele Manyi responds to questions from journalists at a live press briefing at the ANN7 offices in Midrand on 30 August 2017. Picture: Yeshiel Panchia

Mzwanele Manyi, the known Jacob Zuma supporter and Lodidox director who recently purchased former Gupta business family assets ANN7 and the New Age newspaper, is preparing for a legal battle with Multichoice.

In a report carried by his own publication, Manyi says ANN7 is not going down, and that come August 21, their doors will be open, and it will be business as usual. This follows yesterday’s announcement that Multichoice will not be renewing the TV station contract by August.

Multichoice itself caused a stir in media circles when it could not give a compelling business case that led to this drastic decision. South African National Editors Forum (Sanef) and Primedia editor-in-chief Katy Katapoudis this morning questioned what would become of employees who were most likely to lose their jobs.

Several analysts and critics have also weighed in on the matter, with some pointing out that two years ago, information surfaced that Multichoice had received multiple complaints and the company itself was in communication with the station. Parallels were drawn between who is in “power” then and now, as well as Multichoice’s strategy to reposition itself with regards to this.

During the press conference, Multichoice’s representatives were pointedly asked if their admission that the company was not aware of ANN7’s involvement in state capture implied they too were part of the corruption. The company denied this, but media outlets went to town with reports about the company’s alleged “capture” of the SABC to influence the digital migration project.

READ MORE: ‘MultiChoice must come clean on its contract with ANN7’

Last year, the chairperson of the parliament portfolio committee on finance and former minister of communications, Yunus Carrim, had a run-in with Naspers’ Koos Bekker. The crux of Carrim’s contention was that Naspers had sought to influence government policy on digital migration. Opposition parties have also called for treason charges against Faith Muthambi for availing Cabinet’s memo on the policy to Gupta associates in an email.

“We will study the statement by Multichoice in the context of our contract and all the laws of the country. We are going to study the press statement and try to make sense of what was said in it before we can exercise a myriad of options available to address the issue,” Manyi is quoted.

The former director-general of labour and GCIS, who was alleged to have been promised the coveted position of Prasa chairperson during the height of state capture by former CEO Lucky Montana, as was revealed in parliament this week, addressed the almost 500 staff members at the company’s offices in Midrand, where he assured them their jobs were secure, but did not address the question on whether this was a political or business matter.

“Whether political or not, we do not want to go into any of those things at this point, we are going to study this and make our move. ANN7 is not going down,” Manyi said.

Meanwhile, a robust debate on social media gained traction immediately, with former employees of the station posting that the station cannot claim to have “trained” or “made” them into formidable forces they are today. One of the ex-employees quipped: “If anything, that place nearly killed my passion for journalism, I am glad I left before that could be the case.”

ANN7 news anchor allegedly told to ‘rent a room in Tembisa’