Court rules Infinity Media Networks must reinstate employees

A labour court has ruled that Infinity Media Networks – which ran the Afro Worldview news channel – reinstate employees because they were not properly dismissed. 

The ruling was delivered in the Johannesburg Labour Court on Thursday morning. 

According to the ruling, Infinity Media Networks was in breach of a section of the Labour Relations Act as it "failed to engage in a retrenchment consultation process". 

The news channel Afro Worldview – previously known as ANN7 - shut down in mid-August after its contract was terminated by pay TV operator MultiChoice.

The court said that Infinity Media must reinstate people that were fired with immediate effect. It found that Infinity Media breached sections 189 and 189 a of the Labour Relations Act by failing to conduct retrenchment consultation.

The case was brought by the Communications Workers Union. 

The lawyer for the former Afro WorldView employees Senior Associate Tasso Anestidis said: “We are elated with the court order and the judgement. It is a great order and we are looking to enforce it. Depending on what he does we will act accordingly because we have relief. We are happy that all our hard work paid off”.

The order does not apply to the second respondent in the case, which was Afrotone Media Holdings. 

Mzwanele Manyi, the chair of Afrotone Media Holdings, told Fin24 after the ruling was handed down that he did not discuss staff matters with media.

In mid-August 2017 it was announced that Gupta-owned Oakbay Investments had sold ANN7 (part of Infinity Media) for R300m and The New Age newspaper for R150m to Manyi in a vendofinanced deal. 

Legal adviser for the respondent, Advocate Ross Richards, said he would wait to receive the judgement in writing before advising his client on the next step.

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