File picture: Matthews Baloyi/African News Agency (ANA)
Johannesburg - Former Gupta-owned media houses had to dispatch company cars to fetch staff from their homes as many have been left broke due to unpaid salaries.

Some of the ANN7 and The New Age staff had not been paid their salaries by on Tuesday afternoon despite a communication from management that everybody was to be paid by the end of business on Tuesday.

Management had claimed that the problem was caused by an internal system error, which had been resolved by Monday afternoon.

“Staff should start receiving their salaries between today (February 26) and tomorrow,” read an internal communication from management.

ANN7 general manager Gary Naidoo confirmed the delays, saying it was a once-off.

He also revealed that the Guptas still had relations with some South African banks even though a majority of them had cut ties with the family following their implication in state capture.

The company currently banks with the Indian- based Bank of Baroda, which recently announced it would be exiting the country by the end of this month.

This move has caused a headache for the Guptas, with financial institutions reluctant to be associated with them despite ANN7 being sold to Mzwandile Manyi recently.

Naidoo said: “We’ve had technical difficulty and glitches for this month’s payroll, and it has caused a slight delay. We’ve informed the staff about the delays and most of them should have been paid already, and everyone should have been paid by the end of today (yesterday). It was a one-day delay because we normally pay staff on the 26th.”

He said the clearing of paperwork by payroll was delayed by a technical glitch and that this could not be rectified on time because of the weekend before payday.

“We have the Bank of Baroda but we also have relationships with other South African banks. I prefer not to name those banks as that is between us and them,” said Naidoo.

Some ANN7 workers had not received their salaries by Tuesday morning and did not report to work, citing transport fare problems.

This resulted in the TV news channel having to run pre-recorded packages and repeats as there were no staff to carry out live programming duties for most of the morning.

This prompted management to offer to send company cars to collect workers from their homes and to provide them with lunch.

But this proved not enough as some workers were angry that they could not honour personal financial commitments.

“Everybody is despondent. The mood is sombre. It’s not fair that some people are paid and others not. We all also have responsibilities,” said an ANN7 journalist.

Another journalist said: “Manyi had better make a plan. We are not having it.”

Workers at the two Gupta-owned coal mines in Mpumalanga, Optimum and Koornfontein, experienced the same dilemma in the past few days but many have since received their salaries, with more expected to be paid by Wednesday.

The Star