Businessman Mzwanele Jimmy Manyi File picture: Chris Collingridge/ANA

Johannesburg - Mzwanele Manyi hopes to bury the controversial Gupta family past one day and start a new life.

He said that to achieve this, he would have to rebrand the media companies - ANN7 and The New Age - that he bought from the Guptas in August last year.

“I have not even been here for 12 months. It is my dream to rebrand. It is my aim and my objective to rebrand. It is important that at some point I put the past properly to the past.

“These brand names that we have here now evoke all kinds of emotions in people. So,the sooner we confine that to museums, the better. Then we can start a new life,” Manyi said.

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He added that rebranding was a very expensive exercise.

“As we sit here now, I cannot afford it. If I were to rebrand, I would be a new kid on the block. I would be unknown. I would not be able to attract advertising because someone would want to know what is our rating, and it would be zero.

“It is something that we must phase in over a period of time, but first of all you need capital. I must change the templates, the jingles, I must change everything, and that goes into millions,” Manyi said.

He also said the raids on Tuesday which saw four employees being nabbed by Home Affairs immigration officers for allegedly working illegally with expired visas were sabotage, and he felt like he was being persecuted.

“Home Affairs is conducting unlawful acts. We are operating under hostile situations. One day we will overcome. I am mentally prepared,” Manyi said.

He insisted he was running a “healthy organisation” and that the future was “very bright”.

Immigration officials leave the ANN7 studios after the Midrand-based offices of the Gupta-linked TV station were raided. File picture: Matthews Baloyi/ANA

Manyi said there was great opportunity to grow the business, and called on MultiChoice to open its doors for discussion.

In January, MultiChoice announced that DStv would not renew ANN7’s contract when it expires on August 20.

“There is a great opportunity to grow, even with the announced non-renewal (of the MultiChoice contract when it lapses in August). I do not lose sleep over it because I know that the value proposition that we have here is unparalleled. The only thing is we must make sure of is that everything checks out. When we renew we make sure that we tick all the boxes that MultiChoice has laid out,” he said.

“I actually think it is unfair for all the others to compete with me. I am going to compete at MultiChoice with people who are armed with a PowerPoint presentation. They are competing with somebody who is running the business. What kind of competition is this? Some do not even have premises for studios that are in their PowerPoints but they are competing with me

“I have infrastructure on the ground. I have people who are already working. I have professionals; I am already keeping a 24-hour channel alive 24/7, akulalwa (no one sleeps),” Manyi said, adding that the station should be judged in terms of Broadcasting Complaints Commission of South Africa.

“We are cleaner than those who are saying we are not clean. Without a doubt, we are here to stay. We are going absolutely nowhere. I have a lot of approaches (from potential partners). There is a huge appetite for people to partner with me here. I think that very soon we will consummate something very credible. I am in a position to pick and choose,” Manyi said.

He congratulated the Guptas for pulling out of the media companies at the time when they did.

“I am on my own here. It is a great opportunity for me to achieve my vision myself. They have let me loose because the only thing we deal with is how I pay them back,” Manyi said.

The Star