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By Daniel Friedman

Digital news editor

Manyi accuses The Citizen of lying about Gupta comments

The businessman says The Citizen got it wrong, and that he was not accusing the Guptas of driving corruption in SA, only noting the effect their name had on his media operations' reputation.

An article The Citizen carried online on Wednesday that claimed Mzwanele Manyi had tried to distance himself from the Guptas while speaking at Daily Maverick’s The Gathering has been slammed by the businessman.

In an angry response on Twitter partially in all caps, Manyi accused us of lying and “putting words” in his mouth.

Manyi says a tweet that was quoted in the article, which says his comments were expressing how the Guptas were drivers of corruption in South Africa, was misquoted, and that only one “intelligent student”, Bo May-Williams, had gotten it right. You can compare the tweet used in the initial article on The Citizen and Manyi’s preferred coverage by Williams here:

Manyi’s wrath was caused by our reporting on Wednesday that the businessman who bought the New Age and ANN7 from the Guptas said “even if you place a bottle of milk near” the family “it will turn sour”.

This is slightly different from Manyi’s exact words: “If you want to kill anything in this country give it a Gupta name, even fresh milk would turn sour.”

The article went on to say Manyi had said the Guptas drove corruption in South Africa. This may have been conjecture based on the tweet from @MadaLevii. Rather, it seems Manyi was not accusing the Guptas of being corrupt, only noting the negative effect the Gupta name has on any business connected to them.

Journalist Redi Tlhabi took to Twitter to also suggest The Citizen had misquoted Manyi, as he recently said while on The Big Debate that “the Guptas were here to break and disrupt the stranglehold of white monopoly capital”, which appears to be evidence that he is far from ready to distance himself from the controversial family.

Another journalist, Anso Thom, also feels our article misquoted the businessman.

On a Facebook post, she said: “I am no Manyi fan, but The Citizen got it wrong. What he did do is try to distance his AfroWorldView from ANN7. His reference to the sour milk was commentary on all of us saying that they corrupt, and everything they touched was bad. He then said if you put milk next to them, we will all say it turns sour.

“I see Fin24 already published an apology,” she continued.

You can watch his appearance on The Big Debate here:


And, just to clear up any further misconceptions regarding Manyi’s words at The Gathering on Wednesday, you can watch the panel discussion in its entirety here:

The Citizen apologises for misunderstanding what Manyi was trying to say.

Judging by his anger at implications that he is attempting to distance himself from the Guptas, it seems he is still a firm supporter of the family widely believed to have been the driving force behind state capture in South Africa.

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