Late payment jolts ANN7 employees

The New Age and ANN7 owner Mzwanele Manyi allays fears of a financial crisis at his media houses. / Alon Skuy
The New Age and ANN7 owner Mzwanele Manyi allays fears of a financial crisis at his media houses. / Alon Skuy

Some employees at ANN7 TV and The New Age newspaper staged a stayaway yesterday after they were not paid their salaries.

Sowetan understands that as a last-minute attempt to save the day the company organised transport to fetch employees from their homes to bring them to work and provided pizza and drinks for lunch.

A staff member, who declined to be named due to fear of victimisation, said: "I did not get paid but those using Standard Bank got it this morning. I sent a text that I won't pitch until I get the money."

Another employee raised concerns that debit orders have been bouncing. "I know they won't pay us for the bouncing debit orders and the bank charges," he said.

However, the new owner Mzwanele Manyi is adamant his company is not facing a financial crisis despite the delay.

He insisted that there was a "small technical glitch" at the weekend which delayed payments of salaries at his new media houses, which were owned by the controversial Gupta family.

"By end of business today [yesterday] all employees will be covered. At least 90% of them have been paid. The payday was on Monday and the technical glitch on Sunday meant the only opportunity we could fix this was on Monday," Manyi told Sowetan.

He added that all salaries would be paid by the end of yesterday. "Going forward we will make sure that we press the send button earlier," he said.

Manyi said employees who were not at work were on different shifts.

"As I walk around here I see people where I should be seeing them. Everything is going smooth. We work shifts here because we are a 24-hour channel. So, if I see you or I don't see you, it's because you are in another shift, that I would never know," he added.

Sowetan reported last month that the two establishments were going through turmoil following the Gupta exit. It was reported that employees were without basic office necessities such as tea, toilet paper and petrol for fleet cars.

Manyi said: "Remember we have a contract with MultiChoice which is still standing and they give us a certain amount. Nothing has changed. We have not incurred any huge costs that make it impossible for us to meet any financial obligations."

Manyi declined to reveal his plans following the sacking of ANN7 from MultiChoice.

He added that his company will still be in business even after the exit of The Bank
of Baroda which was the only financial group handling Gupta-owned companies' finances.

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