Up to 7500 Gupta employees or more might be rendered jobless by next month as a result of the financial crisis that befell Oakbay Investments.
If the employees of the Gupta-owned Oakbay Investments fail to find alternative jobs within a month, they might be left stranded as the South African major banks may not be reopening Oakbay Investments accounts anytime soon.
New Age editor Moegsien Williams said they are set to close business on all Oakbay companies if after one month, the major banks do not reopen its accounts or an alternative is not found.
About two months ago, in the wake of the possible ‘state capture’ that surrounded the wealthy Gupta family, Absa, First National Bank, Nedbank and Standard Bank closed all Oakbay Investments accounts for unclear reasons.
Oakbay, a holding company which owns a number of companies including Sahara Computers‚ The New Age Newspaper, Africa News Network 7 TV and JIC Mining said that more than 7500 Gupta employees are at risk of losing their jobs if the banks persist.
While addressing The New Age Business Breakfast, the editor spoke extensively on how the paper has pushed through for five years.
“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 pointed that if The New Age is closed down, it will have a major 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.
Ministers – Pravin Gordhan, Mosebenzi Zwane and Mildred Oliphant have since been appointed by cabinet to intervene in the matter while the Reserve Bank made it clear that they will not have anything to do with the issue.
The 7500 Gupta employees have tried several means to secure their jobs since the crisis started all to no avail.