New channel to replace Afro Worldview will be announced later this month
MultiChoice says it will announce the successful bidder to replace the Afro Worldview news channel on August 28.
This after the company ended its contract with the controversial news channel, formerly known as ANN7, on its DStv platform on Tuesday.
"The channel stopped airing on DStv at midnight on Monday, 20 August 2018," MultiChoice spokesperson Kenneth Nxumalo said in a statement on Tuesday.
Employees at Afro Worldview told News24 that they had been left in limbo, with little clarity on what the future holds for them.
They said the channel's owner, Mzwanele Manyi, had informed them on Monday that it had not heard anything from MultiChoice regarding the bids and that the channel would be going off air.
The employees also said that they were told that their line managers would be in touch with them regarding developments.
"We agreed that we'd rather stay at home, because there is no point of coming to the office and doing nothing, because we will be off air," one employee said.
She added that Manyi had also informed them that their salaries would be paid as scheduled.
Communication Workers Union general secretary Aubrey Tshabalala told News24 that it has an agreement in place with MultiChoice that the successful bidder would absorb staff from Afro Worldview.
"You will recall that earlier in June we met with MultiChoice immediately after the initial announcement. We said we are concerned about the independence of editorial... We had an agreement with MultiChoice to say that, be it Afro Worldview, or any other incoming broadcaster, it would have to absorb the current workforce that is there," Tshabalala said.
The channel's closure comes a few months after the Afro Voice newspaper, formerly known as The New Age, was shut down.
Manyi acquired the newspaper and TV channel from the controversial Gupta family in 2017. The family had launched the newspaper in 2010 and the channel in 2013.
The renaming of the channel was an attempt to distance it from the Guptas.
MultiChoice concluded its bidding process for a new broadcaster in July. More than 60 companies launched bids for a black-owned 24-hour news channel, the operator said.
Afro Worldview had been broadcasting on DStv channel 405.
All that's left of the channel is a note that reads: "Dear viewer, please note Afro Worldview stopped airing on the 20 August 2018. Details about the new News channel will be shared on 28 August 2018. Thank you for watching."
- FOLLOW News24 on Twitter