Employees of the Gupta-owned Oakbay Investments have only one month to find new jobs if South African major banks do not reopen Oakbay Investments accounts.
The New Age editor Moegsien Williams said that they will have to close business on all Oakbay companies if the major banks do not reopen its accounts or an alternative is not found in the next month.
Absa, First National Bank, Nedbank and Standard Bank closed all Oakbay Investments accounts for reasons that are still unclear at least two months later.
The closure of Oakbay accounts came in the wake of the possible ‘state capture’ that surrounds the wealthy family.
Oakbay said that this move could see a loss of over 7500 jobs if the banks persist.
Oakbay is a holding company which owns a number of companies including Sahara Computers‚ The New Age Newspaper, Africa News Network 7 TV and JIC Mining .
Addressing The New Age Business Breakfast, Williams spoke at length about how the paper has survived, for five years, a hostile media industry that has been hellbent on making things difficult for them.
“After marking our fifth anniversary, things have not become easier , as you may have read over the past two months, the country’s four major banks have acted in unison and in an unprecedented manner to shutdown the banking facilities of Oakbay Investments, The New Age holding company,” he said.
“What it means is that if we are unable to persuade them to change their minds by next month or find an alternative banking facilities, we will have to shut the door on all Oakbay’s subsidiary companies including The New Age, with a potential loss of 7500 jobs.”
Williams said that the closure of The New Age will have a huge negative impact on media transformation in the country.
“For all progressive South Africans who believe in media diversity and how essential it is for a vibrant democracy, the threat to The New Age and its possible closure would be a dramatic setback for media transformation in our country,” he said.
Three ministers including Pravin Gordhan, Mosebenzi Zwane and Mildred Oliphant have since been appointed by cabinet to intervene.
The Reserve Bank made it clear that they will not be intervening and advised the Guptas to approach the “courts and force their rights”.