They are, however, uncertain about where and what they will be doing after the channel’s contract was canned by MultiChoice last month.
“We do not care where we have to report, but the court has ruled that we must be reinstated and the law has to be respected,” said a relieved employee, who asked not to be named.
On Thursday, the Labour Court declared that Manyi’s company, Infinity Media Networks, did not follow proper procedure when it terminated the contracts of workers. Manyi did not respond to requests for comment and his phone went unanswered.
After taking over the Gupta-owned ventures, Manyi rebranded the ANN7 TV channel as Afro Worldview and The New Age newspaper as Afro Voice. He said this was to cut ties with the controversial Gupta family at the centre of allegations of state capture. The New Age marketing manager Gugu Masinga said she was no longer a member of staff and referred The Star to Manyi.
The Labour Court said the company, which was the first respondent in the matter, was in breach of the provisions of Sections 189 and 189A of the Labour Relations Act (LRA).
“The first respondent is ordered to reinstate those of the second (respondent) with whom it has terminated its employment relationship with immediate effect until it has complied with a fair consultation process in terms of Sections 189 and 189A of the LRA,” the judgment said.
The order did not apply to employees who “have signed either of the agreements annexed A10 and A11 to the founding affidavit”.
“The costs of the application are to be paid by the first respondent,” the judgment read.
Another employee said he was happy that the court had found that Manyi had acted unlawfully.
“We don’t know what his next step will be. It would hurt me if he appealed People are signing the agreements on his terms because they are tired and want to move on with their lives,” the worker said.
Communication Workers Union (CWU) general secretary Aubrey Tshabalala didn’t reply to requests for comment.