Manyi causes stir

2011-03-02 14:14

Remarks made by the public face of the ANC government, Jimmy Manyi, about the “over-concentration of coloureds in the Western Cape” and Trevor Manuel’s subsequent open letter has caused quite a stir.

The comments were made during a television programme last year while he was president of the Black Management Forum (BMF) and director-general of the Department of Labour.

He said there was an “over-supply” of coloureds in Western Cape and suggested they “spread (out) in the rest of the country”.

He said their “over-concentration” in the province “is not working for them”.

Manuel says in his open letter to Manyi: “These statements would make you a racist in the mould of HF Verwoed. I want to put it to you that you have the same mind that operated under apartheid, never merely satisfied with inflicting the hurt of forced removals and the group areas act, would encamp language groups so that horrible aberrations, such as Soshanguve, were created to accommodate ‘non-Tswanas’ in their own little encampments in greater Mabopane.

“Mr Manyi, you maybe black, or perhaps you aren’t, because you do accept that label and would prefer to be ‘only a Xhosa’, whatever the label you choose, I want to put it to you that your behaviour is of the worst-order racist.”

Congratulations and condemnationFormer education minister Professor Kader Asmal has congratulated and expressed his support for Manuel’s “condemnation of the appalling racist remarks made in relation to employment equity by Mr Jimmy Manyi”.

“Minister Manuel deserves the support and praise of all right-thinking South Africans. What drove him to respond in such clear and moving language was not only his belief in the core values of the ANC as expressed in the Freedom Charter, but also his adherence to the principles of equality and non-discrimination enshrined in our Consitution,” Asmal said.

Meanwhile, the ANC Youth League (ANCYL) is “disturbed” by the letter “because as far as we are concerned, Jimmy Manyi publicly apologised for those remarks and the ANC and most of society have accepted the apology”.

In his letter, Manuel says that Manyi himself never issued a public apology but instead said in a press statement issued by Mr Vusi Mona that he was sorry because “some people may have taken offence”.

The Youth League says: “We now do not know who Trevor Manuel represents, because his remarks falls squarely into the political agenda of right-wing political forces opposed to the African National Congress.”

Yesterday, the BMF said it was shocked and disappointed at the open letter written by Manuel.

They said it was unbecoming for a cabinet minister to launch a vitriolic and personal attack on him, Manyi is the president of the organisation they said.

The DA has echoed the words of Asmal in also condemning Manyi but also accuse Manuel of being “insincere for failing to acknowledge the role that he, and the rest of his cabinet colleagues played in this (legislation) process,” says DA federal spokesperson Wilmot James.

“No bills are introduced until there is consensus in Cabinet. Cabinet ministers like Manuel cannot eschew their own responsibility here.”

What the new bill means The proposed amendments causing the alarm was drafted during Manyi’s tenure at the labour department and will see coloureds instantly overshoot their equity targets in the province.

If the hotly contested bill becomes law, it will force employers in Western cape to ensure that about four of every five new appointments – and four of every five promotions within a company – are reserved for black African workers, experts have warned.

Comments have also been made on social networking websites, with Gareth Cliff saying on Twitter: “Remember what I said about the cretinous Manyi when he made a fool of himself as boss of the BMF? How could govt employ this man?”

Andile Mngxitama lashed out at Manuel on Facebook saying: “Jimmy Manyi can’t be racist! Trevor Manuel is talking absolute rubbish!”

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