Lodidox, the company owned by Jimmy Manyi and used to purchase ANN7 and The New Age, formerly owned by the Gupta family, appears to be a shelf company with little or no activity until just recently, The Times reported on Tuesday.
On Monday, the Gupta family confirmed they would be selling their media assets to Manyi, a former government spokesperson and close Gupta ally for R450-million. The deal was vendor-financed, meaning Oakbay, the Gupta's company, allegedly lent Lodidox the money for the purchase.
The Times reported that Lodidox's physical address is a brick house in Soweto where Lobby Manyi, Jimmy Manyi's nephew, lives. He said that Manyi had an office on the property and the activities of The Decolonisation Foundation sometimes occurred there.
Business Day reported on Monday that, according to the Companies and Intellectual Properties Commission (CIPC), Lodidox was registered in 2012 and Manyi is the sole director.
There is widespread speculation that the sale is a move by the Gupta family to access new bank accounts, after South African banks closed theirs.
"Banks ain't going to touch this. It is obvious to a blind man what is going on," economist Dawie Roodt told Business Day.
Prof Alex van den Heever‚ chair of Social Security Systems Administration and Management Studies at the Wits School of Governance, said: "If this is an attempt to circumvent the closure of bank accounts‚ the possibility exist the banks may look into this. It doesn't really appear as a legitimate transaction."
According to The Times, Manyi told ANN7 that, under his leadership, the media companies would operate with "integrity and honesty".
"I see this as Government Communications Information Systems on a grander scale. It is GCIS for the country," said the former GCIS head.
On Monday, the Congress Of The People (COPE) asked the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (Icasa) to shut down ANN7.
"Our point of departure is that the transaction is clouded in secrecy thus giving rise to more questions than answers. Who and how was the deal financed? What was the process of the acquisition? Have the regulatory authorities like Icasa approved the deal?" the opposition party said in a statement, according to Fin24.