Johannesburg - A lawyer acting for the former Gupta-owned New Age, now Afro Voice newspaper, has confirmed that the financially strained entity has filed for liquidation. Late last year, Mzwanele Manyi bought The New Age (TNA) Media and ANN7. The R450million deal was sponsored by Oakbay through a vendor financing agreement.
Manyi’s lawyer, Richard Ross, confirmed that the company had filed for liquidation, and the matter would be heard on July 24. “There will be nothing happening with the news channel, it will continue to operate normally. The New Age, in other words Afro Voice the newspaper, is being liquidated,” said Ross.
In a statement released on Tuesday, Manyi said the insolvency stemmed from a decline in government and commercial advertising, the indefinite suspension of TNA business briefings and operational costs.
He said Afro Voice “is no longer in a position to financially sustain its business operations”. When contacted for comment, Manyi said the matter was now beyond his control and in the hands of the courts.
Ross said it had notified all interested parties, creditors and employees of the application. “We are in court on the 24th. If the court is happy that the company is commercially insolvent, we will get an interim court order. We will have to advertise for a month in a newspaper in the relevant jurisdiction where the company is situated.
“(Thereafter) we will visit the court to get a final liquidation order,” said Ross. He said the process could be delayed if employees or creditors decide to oppose the application. At least 350 employees are expected to lose their jobs. Workers are said to have been placed on special leave and will receive payment this month.
Trade unions have expressed their disappointment over the manner in which workers were informed of the liquidation process. The Liberated Metalworkers Union of South Africa (Limusa) said it was concerned that proper liquidation processes were not followed. Spokesperson Dloze Matoone said: “We are concerned that proper liquidation processes were not followed, and this decision was taken without acknowledging the well-being and rights of employees.
“It is shocking that the newspaper had not tried any alternatives of rescuing the paper and equally the jobs of employees. In our view, this decision was taken recklessly, and it is highly inconsiderate,” said Mazoone.
Manyi, however, has said that there were attempts to rescue the embattled entity.