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‘Illegal’ ANN7 staff ordered to leave SA

Four foreign employees at ANN7 have been ordered by Home Affairs to leave the country.

Africa News Network (ANN7) was launched in August 2013. Picture: ANN7

JOHANNESBURG - Four foreigners involved in the training of employees at the Gupta-owned 24-hour news channel Africa News Network 7 (ANN7) have reportedly been ordered to leave the country.

Minister of Home Affairs Naledi Pandor, in a written reply to a parliamentary question, said her department responded immediately to allegations that foreigners without work permits were employed at ANN7.

Last month, Eyewitness News uncovered evidence that some of the staff from India had allegedly entered the country on holiday visas. while others had entered on intra-company transfer visas, but did not meet the criteria.

A preliminary investigation found that eight employees had visitor permits and were in South Africa legally.

While four have since left, the remaining four overstepped their permit conditions and were ordered to leave South Africa.

The Eyewitness News investigation followed allegations made by former ANN7 consulting editor Rajesh Sundaram who accused the channel of widespread visa irregularities when he left the country in September.

Sundaram alleged that the visa process was being purposely undermined by ANN7's parent company Infinity Media and its Indian shareholder, Essel Media.

But at the time Infinity Media maintained all its paperwork was in order and dismissed the claims as those of a disgruntled employee.

ANN7 management brought in about two dozen production professionals from its Indian shareholder to help get the channel off the ground.

Sundaram said his colleagues who joined him from India did not have the required documentation to work in South Africa.

He further alleged that pressure was placed on high commission officials in New Delhi to speed up the visa process.