I’m the sole shareholder of Lodidox‚ says Manyi

30 August 2017 - 15:59 By Katharine Child

Lodidox bought the Gupta's media interests with a loan from them.

Times Media had sent a lawyer’s letter asking for the details of the shareholders of Lodidox.

Section 26 of the Companies Act requires businesses to divulge all shareholders on request and failure to do so within 14 days is a criminal offence.

Manyi chose a media conference to broadcast his answer live on TV to "put the matter to rest".

This was even as he on Sunday tweeted that he would no longer do any more media interviews about his purchase.

He said his initial tweet complaining about the request to disclose his shareholders was because he felt annoyed.

When he learned that he had to disclose the information or face criminal charges‚ he changed his mind and decided to release the information. "My disclosure of the shareholder register and related documents shows my commitment to transparency and good corporate governance."

Asked if the shareholder register could change if he sold shares‚ he said he would make any new shareholders public.

"I don’t know what will happen in a year's time. I have made it public that I am looking for shareholders. Subject to those discussions‚ things will change. But everything will be transparent‚ if [things change] we will call these meetings again."

Manyi said that Duduzane Zuma's company Mabengela no longer had shares in Infinity media‚ the former owner of the New Age and ANN7.

Manyi said he was unhappy about media reports suggesting he paid too much for the companies at R450-million. "This was attention [in order] to cast aspersions on an black person and an African in particular.

"I concluded with confidence about the viability of two media companies. ANN7 is showing profits as we speak and a reasonable return on investment."

But he said he would not release figures of The New Age's circulation as he did not trust the Audit Bureau of Circulations‚ which is used to audit other publications.

It is not publicly known how many copies The New Age sells and Manyi does not plan to change that. Manyi said the scrutiny of his deal buying the controversial Guptas' companies was because he was black and an example of "institutionalised racism".

He also said vendor financing was not unusual in South Africa and was widely used in BEE deals such as when Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa bought shares in Lonmin.

Manyi used vendor financing - a loan from the Guptas - to buy their company.

"The New Age and ANN7 provide 500 jobs that have been saved by this matter."

He said he planned to attract more new talent to his media business with new "fresh" ideas such as the one to broadcast his media conference live on TV. He had also begun to rekindle relationships that had been "somewhat poisoned"‚ he said‚ referring to businesses that did not want to advertise on TV and in the newspaper because of the Gupta links.