Court grants provisional liquidation of former Gupta-owned newspaper

Afrotone Media Holdings owner Jimmy Manyi.
Afrotone Media Holdings owner Jimmy Manyi.

The North Gauteng High Court on Tuesday granted an order for the provisional liquidation of the company that owns The New Age newspaper.

This after Mzwandile Manyi and his company‚ Afrotone Media Holdings‚ made an application the court last week.

Manyi argued that the company was commercially unviable.

Manyi bought the company from the controversial Gupta family last year and had just rebranded The New Age newspaper to Afro Voice. Last month‚ the newspaper closed down.

But majority of the employees are opposing liquidation of the company and they are arguing that the company is not commercially insolvent.

On Tuesday they approached the court opposing the liquidation but ended up agreeing with Manyi's lawyer for fear of losing the workers' July salaries.

Caroline White‚ an attorney representing the workers‚ said that‚ based on the information at her disposal‚ she didn't believe the company was commercially insolvent.

She said she still could do an application to intervene on the matter.

"It appears that there was a certain amount of assets in the company and on a calculation of their financial figures‚ [the company] would not appear to be commercially insolvent‚ " she said.

White added that the company had gotten three investors on June 5 and it would not make sense to the company to close down in the same month.

"New investors would have done a proper due diligence‚ they would have investigated and they would have found out. You don't invest in a company that is going insolvent three weeks later‚" she added.

She said the new investors would also have invested capital into the company.

Ross Richards‚ who represented Manyi and the other applicants‚ declined to comment on the arguments by White but he maintained that the company was commercially insolvent.

"The company is commercially insolvent because there are a couple of incidents that have occurred. One‚ there was a lot of advertising that TNA media lost. There was business briefings that came to an end‚ well.

“ There is a lot of businesses that The New Age‚ trading as Afro Voice‚ has lost and due to that [and] they can't pay their debts anymore‚" said Richard.

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