Norway complains about Manyi

2010-05-27 18:30

Cape Town - Norway's ambassador to South Africa has requested a meeting with Labour Minister Membathisi Mdladlana to raise concerns about labour department director general Jimmy Manyi's conduct during an official meeting.

Ambassador Tor Christian-Hilda said on Thursday: "There were certain things discussed and the way in which they were brought up in that meeting we did not appreciate."

He said Mdladlana had agreed to a meeting, but a date still had to be scheduled.

Christian-Hilda and two other senior diplomats from the Norwegian mission met Manyi in Pretoria early in March to discuss Norway's co-operation with South Africa's work programme through the International Labour Organisation (ILO).

He said black economic empowerment policies were discussed at the meeting, but declined to elaborate further on his reasons for sending a diplomatic note to International Relations and Co-operation Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane, from where the matter was passed on to Mdladlana.

"I do not want to go into the details of what happened."

Manyi said on Thursday that the meeting had turned to difficulties Norwegian companies were having with BEE, at which point he offered to brief them in detail about government's policies in this regard.


"As the discussion flowed, the issue came up of challenges Norwegians were having with BEE. This is why I offered to give them a presentation about BEE and how it works."

The director general, who is also president of the Black Management Forum (BMF) said he saw nothing untoward about his offer and was surprised that the diplomats took offence.

"I'm dumbfounded by their take on this.

"I do a lot of these presentations in my personal capacity and I must add that I do not charge for this...I do it because I am passionate about transformation."

Manyi confirmed that Mdladlana had discussed the matter with him, and said he considered it resolved, though he knew the minister was planning to meet the ambassador.

"I do not consider there to be any outstanding issues between me and the minister."

Manyi was reportedly recently told by Mdladlana to choose between his job as director general and the presidency of the BMF.

Manyi said on Thursday he did not think this was necessary because he was already in charge of the BMF when he was appointed by the labour department last year.

"So there is nothing in the process of me getting the job indicating that I have to renounce anything."