Cope urges Icasa to close down ANN7

2017-08-21 21:15
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Jimmy Manyi

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Cape Town - Opposition party Cope has urged the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (Icasa) to revoke the broadcasting licence of former Gupta-owned TV channel ANN7 and close it down with immediate effect. 

The party said in a statement late on Monday that Progressive Professionals Forum (PPF) president Mzwanele Manyi's acquisition of the Gupta-owned ANN7 and The New Age newspaper is "suspicious". 

"Our point of departure is that the transaction is clouded in secrecy thus giving rise to more questions than answers. Who and how was the deal financed? What was the process of the acquisition? Have the regulatory authorities like Icasa approved the deal?"

Cope said the deal leads to the conclusion that Manyi is a "front" for the continued "Gupta shenanigans" and called for a thorough scrutiny of the deal.

The party said it also plans a protest march, against the "corruption" by the Gupta family. 

Gupta-owned Oakbay Investments announced on Monday that Manyi – through a shelf company he took over in June – had bought the entities for R450m through a vendor financing deal.

The agreement is expected to be concluded over the next few weeks, subject to any regulatory requirements. 

Save South Africa and the Democratic Alliance (DA) have also expressed concern regarding the Guptas’ sale of broadcaster ANN7 and The New Age (TNA) newspaper to Manyi.

Phumzile van Damme, DA spokesperson on communications, said specifically The New Age appears to be "propped up by government funding". She is of the view that under Manyai's ownership even more government funds will be facilitated for the two media units. 

Save SA said most of the Gupta family's money has been "siphoned from the public purse" and they are now effectively using "dirty money" to hand over an asset from "one rogue business to another".

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