JOHANNESBURG - The owners of the new 24-hour news channel, Newzroom Afrika, said on Tuesday that they will give priority to retrenched employees of the doomed Afro Worldview channel when they start recruiting new staff members.
Last week, Multichoice pulled the plug on Afro Worldview -- the television channel formerly owned by the controversial Gupta brothers under the name ANN7 -- which until August 20 had been aired on DStv channel 405. The canning of Afro Worldview left about 350 journalists, producers and general workers without jobs.
The channel had changed ownership and name after Mzawanele Manyi's Afrotone Media Holdings bought it for R300 million in vendor financing deal from the Guptas Infinity Media. Staff at the Afro Worldview were informed not to report for work from August 21.
Thabile Ngwato, co-owner of Newzroom Afrika, said that the former Afro Worldview employees would be informed in good time when the recruitment process begins, adding that the application process would also be open to the general public.
"In terms of employees at Afro Worldview, they will certainly be prioritised when it comes to our recruitment process. Each and every person who applies for various positions will be given an opportunity to go through the recruitment process but they will certainly be prioritised," Ngwato said during a media briefing on Tuesday.
Multichoice announced Newszroom Afrika as the winning bidder, amongst 111 bidders, for its vacant 24-hour news channel on its pay-TV bouquet DStv.
Multichoice chief executive Clavo Mawela reiterated Ngwato's promise that
"We will be looking into how can we avoid the losing of jobs in the industry, and all the bidders that came in we posed the question the same questions to them to say how are you going to deal with issues around the people that have been employed should Afro Worldview not be successful," Mawela said.
"All of them confirmed that indeed they were going to take them in their stride to ensure that they consider them as part of their recruitment process."
Mawela said Newzroom Afrika won the bid because it had put a "very credible" team of veteran broadcasters and that it met the black-economic empowerment objectives as it is 100-percent black-owned and 50-percent female owned.
"We were looking for a news channel that is distinctly different from what is currently available, and we certainly found it in Newzroom Afrika. We want to drive sustainable transformation in the television industry and to contribute to the diversity of views in our country and our continent," Mawela said.
Newzroom Afrika is a 50-50 owned broadcast venture by veteran broadcast journalists and successful television production entrepreneurs, Thokozani Nkosi of Eclipse TV and former South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) news anchor Thabile Ngwato of Rapid Innovation.
The owners of the channel said though the company was still working on its launch plan, it was planning to launch the channel early in 2019.
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African News Agency (ANA)