Oakbay confirms disciplinaries at ANN7

2016-06-25 14:32
ANN7 website.

ANN7 website.

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Cape Town - Oakbay Investments, the holding company of television station ANN7, has confirmed disciplinary proceedings at the company, but would not say whether they were related to a confrontation involving ANC Youth League president Collen Maine and some staffers.

"There has been an internal disciplinary process due to gross misconduct by staff. However we do not comment on staff issues or disciplinary processes," the company's corporate communications division said in a statement on Saturday.

An anonymous email received by News24 claimed that eight ANN7 staffers were fired on Friday and escorted off the premises immediately.

They were found guilty of bringing the company into disrepute when they voiced their anger at Maine's visit to the premises on April 20 at the invitation of online manager Phui Mosomane, according to the email's author.

Mosomane had written an "open letter" addressed to South Africa's big four bank CEO's to plead the case of Oakbay employees who were worried about being paid after the banks froze the company's accounts.

Some employees were upset that he claimed to be speaking on their behalf, and also wanted it known that they did not agree with his contention that they do not care about allegations of "state capture".

Oakbay was established by the Gupta family and is a majority shareholder in Infinity media, which operates ANN7.

The term "state capture" has been used to describe what is considered an inappropriately close relationship between the Gupta family and senior African National Congress (ANC) officials and members of the executive, with the intention of getting lucrative state contracts.

Earlier this year, former MP Vytjie Mentor and Deputy Minister of Finance Mcebisi Jonas claimed the Guptas offered them ministerial posts.

Staff did not want political interference

Jonas said he had been offered the position of Finance Minister around the time of the sudden removal of Nhlanhla Nene and the appointment of David van Rooyen. Van Rooyen was quickly replaced  with Pravin Gordhan to steady the markets which had reacted catastrophically.

The ANC invited submissions on the claims, but its secretary general Gwede Mantashe said they had only received one submission and had not gone further with it.

Ajay Gupta, chairperson of Oakbay told SABC Morning Live on Wednesday that he was not a "state capturer" and was just friends with President Jacob Zuma, who also heads the ANC.

The author of the anonymous letter said those who voiced their opposition to Mosomane's letter faced internal charges, including intimidation, victimisation, harassment and deserting their posts.

At the time Maine said he had been invited by staff and accepted the invitation out of concern for their jobs.

But the writer of the letter said that only one staffer, Mosomane, contacted him, with many believing it was under instruction of ANN7 management.

The author said that when it became clear that the staff did not want political interference in their grievances, the disciplinaries began.

Meanwhile, on Friday SABC spokesperson Kaizer Kganyago confirmed that three employees at the public broadcaster had been suspended.

He too would not provide details, but News24 understands that economics editor Thandeka Gqubule, RSG executive producer Foeta Krige and Afrikaans news producer Suna Venter were served with the papers on Thursday stating that they were suspended indefinitely.

It was understood that all three had voiced their concern and disagreement over not covering a Right2Know (R2K) protest which took place outside the SABC building on Monday.

The public broadcaster's COO Hlaudi Motsoeneng has instructed that footage showing violent protests should not be aired, saying this encouraged further violence.

Read more on:    ann7  |  oakbay  |  sabc  |  media

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