BMF declines to share Manyi credentials | Fin24
 
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BMF declines to share Manyi credentials

Mar 02 2011 16:44
Johannesburg - The Black Management Forum (BMF), of which under-fire government spokesperson Jimmy Manyi is president, declined on Wednesday to provide information on his political and professional background.

This was after National Planning Minister Trevor Manuel questioned his struggle credentials in an open letter published in The Star newspaper on Wednesday.

"You wouldn't find struggle credentials on a CV," said BMF deputy president Tembakazi Mnyaka.

"You keep your professional and political life separate. I do not see the relevance of your question," she said, in response to a request for information on his career and his role in the struggle against apartheid.

Manuel, in his open letter to Manyi, called him a "worst-order racist".

This followed the release of a recording by the Solidarity trade union last week in which Manyi said, in an interview broadcast on kykNET last year, that there was an "over-supply" and "over-concentration" of coloured people in the Western Cape.

Manuel pointed out to Manyi that the "coloureds" were the sons and daughters of those who had fought anti-colonial battles and made huge sacrifices in the struggle against apartheid.

"By the way, what did you do in the war, Jimmy?" asked Manuel.

Declined to comment

Manyi declined to comment on Wednesday morning - saying he would "not say a word" - but the organisation he leads, the BMF, expressed shock and disappointment at Manuel's remarks.

Manyi's phone was switched off at around lunchtime.

Mnyaka would not say if he had read and approved the BMF statement before it was distributed to the media.

"You are asking an internal BMF question," she said.

Neither would she comment on what the BMF's values were, as referred to in Manuel's letter.

Manuel said: "I want to draw your attention to the fact that your statements about 'an over-concentration of coloureds' are against the letter and spirit of the South African constitution, as well as being against the values espoused by the Black Management Forum since its inception."

Mnyaka, when asked if she could provide the media with a document on the BMF's values, said: "We will deal the appropriate response at the right time."

The BMF's website states that it is a "non- racial, thought leadership organisation founded in 1976, with the main purpose of influencing socio-economic transformation of our country, in pursuit of socio-economic justice, fairness and equity.

"The BMF continues to be vocal on these aforementioned matters and has been keeping Corporate South Africa in check and encouraging participation of the broader South African stakeholders," reads the BMF website.

"The organisation stands for the development and empowerment of managerial leadership primarily amongst black people within organisations and the creation of managerial structures and processes, which reflect the demographics, and values of the wider society."

Unexpected move


In an unexpected move, Manyi was appointed government spokesperson in February, succeeding the widely respected Themba Maseko.

At the time, opposition parties and political analysts cried foul, questioning the wisdom of having a government spokesperson who also held the position of BMF president.

Manyi was the director general of the labour department but was suspended in June 2010 by the previous labour minister, Membathisi Mdladlana, following a complaint by the Norwegian ambassador who accused Manyi of using an official meeting to promote his private interests.

Manyi appealed to Labour Minister Mildred Oliphant to be reinstated in his post after Mdladlana was replaced in a Cabinet reshuffle last October, but was instead placed on special leave.

His special leave ended when his new appointment as government spokesperson was announced.

Before becoming labour director general, Manyi was the group executive of corporate affairs at Tiger Brands Limited.

He has also held the position of group executive director for business development and marketing at Meeg Bank, according to the website Who's Who in southern Africa.

The website says Manyi, 47, has "over 20 years corporate experience in mainly blue chip and multinationals spanning across key sectors of the economy (mining, auto, banking, IT, health and food)".

There does not appear to be a profile or CV of Manyi on the Government Communication and Information System (GCIS) website.

GCIS deputy CEO Vusi Mona, who last week apologised on behalf of Manyi for the statements he made in the kykNET interview, was not immediately reachable for comment.

bmf  |  jimmy manyi  |  trevor manuel  |  racism
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