Guptas trade South African media company to Zuma ally for $34m

Businessman Mzwanele Manyi (above) is a known Zuma’s supporter

Southern Africa —ANN7 (African News Network 7) is South Africa’s third 24-hour news channel, formally owned by the Gupta family, now bought By Mzwanele Owned Company Lodox, broadcasts on Multi choice’s DStv satellite television service.

The channel’s launch in August 2013 was initially met with public mockery when numerous technical issues and mistakes made by un-trained presenters went viral online.

The channel has been accused of being a pro-President Zuma mouthpiece, through Zuma’s close financial and political connections to the highly controversial Gupta family, which have previously come under fire for exploiting their political connections for personal financial gain.

ANN7 is primarily controlled by Infinity Media Networks which is owned jointly by Essel Media (35%), Oakbay Investments, the Gupta family’s investment vehicle (35%), Mabengela Investments (21%) and a further 9% has been reserved for staff and management.

Mabengela Investments is a broad-based black economic empowerment company of which Duduzane Zuma holds a 45% stake. Other shareholders are Rajesh Kumar Gupta (25%), Aerohaven Trading (15%), Fidelity Investments (10%), Mfazi Investments (3%) and Ashu Chawla (2%).

Additionally, the Gupta Media conglomerate control and operate The New Age, a South African daily newspaper which was ranked the ‘Most influential English daily newspaper’ by Mediatenor in the last quarterly results.

The media house which started streaming on Aug 18, 2017 prides itself as South Africa’s newest 24-hour news channel focusing on constructive, nation-building stories in the interests of building a culture of unity and pride in SA.

The international news broadcaster Al Jazeera English has alleged that Zuma’s close relationship with the Guptas has “translated into friendly coverage in the outlets they own,”[ such as ANN7 and The New Age newspaper.

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Paul Stevens

Paul Stevens is a researcher, media issues analyst and senior contributor with Globe Afrique.
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