The Times’ sister publication, Sowetan, was told that Manyi seemed embarrassed when a female employee asked him where he got the R450-million to buy the two media entities.
Mzwanele “Jimmy” Manyi was laughed at during his first meeting with employees of ANN7 and The New Age on Thursday.
“He [said] his company has been saving money and has investments,” the employee said.
“We just laughed because we know the truth.”The employee said her colleagues were not satisfied with Manyi’s explanation.
He was also asked how, without experience, he would manage the two media companies.
“He told us about his employment history. He said he worked at Government Communication and Information Systems for years.”
The Gupta family’s Oakbay Investments sold its shares in the media companies to Manyi’s Lodidox in a “vendor-financed” deal.
One of the employees said the former government spokesman was ridiculed when he spoke about his acquisition of the Gupta family’s media interests.
“He expressed disappointment and tried to compose himself,” the employee said.”Manyi told us that the media will now throw things at him.”
The meeting was attended by New Age editor Ricky Naidoo and former New Age/ANN7 editor-in-chief Moegsien Williams.
The employees present disagreed with Manyi when he told them that they had been under good management.
Manyi’s acquisition of the two media entities has been questioned in many quarters, with the EFF saying the purchase is nothing more than fronting.
Approached for comment on Thursday Williams said: ”I am the pensioner now” and referred all further inquiries to Gupta family spokesman Gary Naidoo, who could not be reached.