Will Manyi survive the BMF showdown?

2010-10-03 08:48

A showdown is looming at the Black Management Forum (BMF), with the detractors of president Jimmy Manyi planning to use this week’s annual general meeting to unseat him.

If Manyi is removed on Wednesday he will go into the forum’s history book as the first president to have suffered such a fate.

Former BMF presidents Lot Ndlovu, Bheki Sibiya and Nolitha Fakude on Thursday convened a media briefing at which they called on Manyi to resign.

Manyi was defiant on Friday. “For Ndlovu and his followers to have not followed due internal processes shows a lack of respect and contempt for the BMF constitution,” he said.

Manyi accused them of bringing the BMF into disrepute.

“They also don’t have respect for democracy and they undermine the intelligence of the general BMF membership that elected me last year,” said Manyi, who is serving the first year of his three-year term.

The move to remove Manyi has been criticised by the association’s other former presidents.

“It is very unfortunate to see past presidents who I respect and know have high, principled standards, especially Lot Ndlovu, doing this,” said former BMF president Don Mkhwanazi. “Why did they not use the BMF’s internal structures to deal with this thing?”

Had he been consulted, Mkhwanazi would have advised them to leave Manyi alone.

The move to axe Manyi, who has been suspended as the director-general of labour since June, followed a barrage of criticism of him by the three former leaders over a conflict of interest caused by him holding a senior government position and also the BMF presidency.

City Press reported last month that a group within the BMF was lobbying branches to have the president’s term of office extended from three to five years at the forum’s policy conference taking place on Thursday and Friday.

The group has also campaigned to make the president’s job a paying position.

At the time Manyi denied there would be attempts to amend the BMF constitution in favour of the extension of the president’s term of office and remuneration.

“Manyi has been refusing to issue a categoric public statement promising that the constitution will not be amended to remunerate the president and extend the term of office,” said Ndlovu, Manyi’s former mentor.

He also accused Manyi of publicising senseless statements and ignoring advice to set up a communications unit.

Ndlovu said it would have been impossible to call for Manyi’s resignation within the branches, because the matter would have been swept under the carpet.

“What is important now is to deal with the issues we have raised, as our organisation is being led by an incompetent president with no respect for people,” said Ndlovu.

Martin Sebesho, BMF president in 1980 and 1981, said it was not right for past presidents to ­dictate to a sitting president how to run the organisation.

A BMF member, who declined to be named for fear of being suspended, expressed concern about attempts to topple Manyi.

“Manyi’s two terms were very different: the first one saw the BMF’s public image go up and the second term has been disastrous because he alienated members who were not part of the ANC,” said the source.

“However, this does not mean Manyi should be forced to resign as the forum might develop a bad culture of recalling its presidents.

“Manyi is the product of the BMF and we must try to find ways to rehabilitate him instead of chucking him out,” the source said.

Another source said a sitting president could be removed from office by the passing of a motion of no confidence.

“The vote of no confidence could be passed by the board at a meeting or the general membership at the annual general meeting,” said the source.

The member said that the platform used by Ndlovu, Fakude and Sibiya to call for Manyi’s resignation was not recognised in the BMF’s constitution.

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