Economic Freedom Fighters leader Julius Malema has laughed at Oakbay’s announcement that the controversial Gupta family has sold ANN7 and The New Age to Mzwanele Manyi.

Manyi has long been accused of working with the Guptas, particularly in promoting the notion of “white monopoly capital”. He has also allegedly received funding from the family for entities he is involved with.

It’s uncertain how Manyi will be financing the deal, but Oakbay said it was done to save the jobs of 7 500 “hardworking employees” and safeguard the “inherent value of the businesses”.

Malema said the move was a “joke of the century”, questioning why people were congratulating him.

“How do you congratulate criminal activity?” he asked.

The EFF said the move was “disgusting”, further reiterating its intent to boycott the companies.

“We reject this as the worse and most dangerous form of fronting. It is now public knowledge that all banks, locally and internationally, have closed Gupta accounts because of their dirty and questionable money. Therefore, the move is to use Manyi to legitimate their money, and continue to front money laundering and racketeering,” the party said.

By selling their businesses to Manyi, the Guptas are apparently abusing efforts to transform the media industry, as the companies will “continue looting our state”.

Saying the deal was a way of transforming the media was the same as the apartheid government saying creating Bantustans was a progressive liberation move for black people, it argued.

“We are not blind to the fact that Manyi will continue the business of fake news and reporting that characterises the Gupta media empire. This is because Manyi himself has been central to false propaganda and the defence of Zupta corruption that is killing many state institutions. He is the cheerleader of kleptocracy and a mascot of the Zupta corruption.”

The party has since called on South Africans to stop watching ANN7 and buying the newspaper, as supporting the businesses would be to “legitimate state looting and kleptocracy”.