Former ANN7 editor, Rajesh Sundaram, says he resigned from the post years ago due to illegal labour practices and undue political interference in editorial decisions.
Sundaram’s explosive new book claims that former President Jacob Zuma was directly involved in the creation of the controversial Gupta-linked news channel.
In the tell-all book, Indentured – Behind the Scenes at Gupta TV, Sundaram claims that Zuma shaped the policies at ANN7.
The channel faces closure after DSTV failed to renew its contract.
Sundaram says he arrived in South Africa days after the Gupta wedding in 2013, and was appointed as editor.
He says he fled back to India, following threats from the Gupta brothers.
“There were a lot of Indian labourers who were brought in to build the studios in the sense of putting the structure together. Most of them were not paid in SA. They were just brought in here. They worked and toiled and stayed on the premises, on the site in subhuman conditions.
“The food that they ate was cooked there on the site. There were very basic facilities that were given to them and their families were paid in India. They were not paid anything here.”
Sundaram says he attempted to raise the issue regarding the workers brought in from India, but nothing was done.
“I did raise this issue with the shareholders at that time, including Mr Gupta, and they said it was nothing to worry about. It was a violation of the law, but they have the government in their pockets. So nobody needed to bother about it.
“I can tell you at least a dozen people who came at that time were on tourist visas, but not on the visas that were required and they were working there. I did put a formal complaint about this on my return to India but no action was taken for so many years,” the former ANN7 editor explained.
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