The newspaper group Independent News & Media SA (INM) must not be sold wholesale to a foreign buyer should it come up for sale again, said senior ANC MP Eric Kholwane.

Business Day on Tuesday reported Kholwane as saying he was not, however, opposed to a degree of foreign ownership.

“I don't mind who owns it, and some foreign ownership may be good,” he said on Monday.

“However, there must be a place for previously disadvantaged people to own a stake, as this would help with the transformation issues concerning ownership.”

On Friday, INM's chairman James Osbourne and head of finance Donal Buggy were fired from the Irish media company.

Financial troubles in the company prompted speculation that a consortium could be planning to buy its South African wing.

Sekunjalo Investment Holdings could be part of the plan, with rumours that its chief executive, Iqbal Surve, visited Ireland for discussions in this regard.

Surve would not confirm these reports. He said: “These reports were as much as a surprise to me as anyone else. Are they (the media) following me?”

The INM group is the largest newspaper publisher in South Africa, owning 14 newspapers, and also owns the Independent Online (IOL) group of websites. - Sapa