MultiChoice is on Tuesday expected to reveal the successful bidder that will replace former Gupta-linked news channel Afro Worldview.
The closure of Afro Worldview has triggered a storm of criticism. Critics have blasted MultiChoice for leaving more than 300 staff jobless and shutting down an alternative voice in the media industry.
MultiChoice opened bidding for the new channel earlier this year after a growing storm surrounding the Gupta family. The media giant said it had received more than 60 proposals‚ which were whittled down to a shortlist.
EFF leader Julius Malema suggested in a tweet on Monday night that he had the inside scoop.
Afro Worldview‚ which was previously known as ANN7‚ was started by the Gupta brothers in 2013 but was taken over by businessman Mzwanele Manyi.
Communications Workers’ Union (CWU) secretary-general Aubrey Tshabalala said they were disappointed at how management had handled the demise of the channel.
“Management should be upfront with workers to say what will happen (when the channel is cut off). Are workers going to stay at home? What will happen to their salaries? Those are the things that we felt that management was not upfront with them [about]‚” Tshabalala said at the time.
Manyi‚ who is the chairperson of Afrotone Media Holdings‚ had tweeted a photograph of the staff‚ pleading with South Africans to intervene.
“Dear South Africa‚ please put this innocent team of breadwinners in your prayers. They NEED their jobs‚” he had tweeted.
Tshabalala said they were in negotiations with MultiChoice‚ which had apparently agreed that the new licensee would absorb the current employees.
“Here we are not talking about executive people who have a lot in their coffers. We are talking about working people who rely on their monthly salary‚ so a day or two without a salary is disastrous.”
Manyi said in July that Afro Worldview’s association with the Gupta family had created an unshakable perception that it was an integral part of state capture‚ which had led to the collapse of the Afro Voice newspaper‚ previously known as The New Age. The paper published its last edition on June 29.
Manyi made this submission in an application in the North Gauteng High Court to place the company under provisional liquidation. Afrotone bought TNA Media from Gupta-owned company Oakbay Investments in August 2017.