The Labour Court has ordered businessman Mzwanele Manyi to reinstate the hundreds of workers he dismissed after his Afro Worldview news channel was taken off MultiChoice last month. Adding that the workers have to be reinstated with immediate effect, which could be tricky since there are no jobs to go back to.
The workers, through the Communication Workers’ Union took Manyi’s Infinity Media Networks that ran the now-defunct news channel, to the Labour Court. On Thursday, the court ruling found that the company did not engage in the correct retrenchment consultation processes.
“The first respondent (Infinity Media Networks) is ordered to reinstate those of the second to further applicants with whom it has terminated its employment relationship with immediate effect until it has complied with a far consultation process in terms of s 189 and s 189A of the LRA,” the ruling read.
The court has also ordered that Manyi’s company pay the applicants’ legal fees. Afro Worldview was shut down in August, 2018 after Multichoice declined to renew its contract. The closure came a few weeks after Manyi’s daily newspaper, AfroVoice was shut down and filed for liquidation.
The two media companies were previously owned by the controversial Gupta family and came under scrutiny after allegations of corruption emerged against the family, which used close ties to influential political leaders to get access to state funds for years.
Mzwanele Manyi bought both media companies from the Gupta family last year in a deal that effectively meant he was loaning the money from the Guptas to buy their assets.