People entitled to their opinions – Manyi

2011-03-04 07:08

South Africa is a democratic country and people are entitled to their opinions, government spokesperson Jimmy Manyi said, responding to calls for him to be fired.

“There’s freedom of speech; people can say anything they want to,” he said on SABC2’s Morning Live.

“This country is a constitutionally driven country. We’ve got laws, we have labour laws.

“Everything South Africa is doing the President [Jacob Zuma] has said that we must observe the Constitution,” he said.

He was responding to a question about calls for him to be fired over comments he made about coloureds in the Western Cape.

Manyi reiterated that he would not comment on an open letter by Minister in the Presidency Trevor Manuel in which he was labelled a “racist”.

However, he said his remarks had not violated the Constitution.

Manyi, then the director-general of labour, said in a show broadcast on KykNet’s Robinson Regstreeks in March last year that there was an “over supply” of coloureds in the Western Cape.

In the open letter, which was published in the Mercury newspaper, Manuel hit out at Manyi over his comments on coloured people.

The two came face-to-face at the Cabinet meeting in Pretoria on Wednesday.

Manyi described the atmosphere between himself and Manuel at the meeting as cordial and professional.

“We smile, we shake hands,” he said.

When asked if it was genuine he said “yes” and laughed heartily.

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