BMF changes tune

2010-05-16 11:10

Public outrage over suggestions that Business Unity SA (Busa)

­president Futhi Mtoba was a ­transformation lightweight forced the Black

Management Forum (BMF) to eat humble pie on Friday.

Some leaders of the associations that are affiliated to Busa made

public comments about what they saw as an unwarranted personal ­attack on the

new Busa president.

The president-elect of the Businesswomen’s Association, Kunya- lala

Maphisa, said: “Questioning her appointment due to her ­association with

established ­business directly questions her ­integrity as a professional and a

business person. This suggests an inability to stand for what is right.

“Her appointment as Busa ­president should be celebrated and

commended as it is in line with ­government policy on gender ­equity and it

speaks to the urgent need for transformation in corporate South Africa.”

The president of the International Women’s Forum of South Africa,

Dr Namane Magau, said allegations that Mtoba would be a puppet of big business

had no substance.

“As much as she spends her time dealing with issues affecting big

business, she is also involved in ­areas where she has been ­developing other

women,” Magau said.

Hlengani Mathebula, the chairperson of the African Leadership Group

and the Black ­Business Executive Circle, said Mtoba’s critics were being

­malicious because the leadership positions she held in the past had proved she

was a champion of transformation.

“She won the Busa democratic elections fairly and everyone needs to

rally behind her. No one will ­benefit from making negative ­public remarks,”

Mathebula said.

The chief executive of Business Leadership SA, Michael Spicer, said

that ­Mtoba was more experienced than the alternative candidate, Sandile


“There is no doubt that both ­candidates were of high quality, but

we needed someone who was very experienced and who will speak with one voice for

all the businesses,” Spicer said.

On Friday the BMF issued a statement backtracking on its ­comments

of three days earlier.

BMF president Jimmy Manyi said: “The BMF expresses regret at the

confusion following the ­statement intended to decry the Goliath approach by big

business in the Busa presidency race.

“It is unfortunate that a seasoned transformation agent like Futhi

Mtoba got caught in the ­crossfire,” he said.

Manyi said his aim had been to ­address the poor ­representation of

black structures in Busa, which was viewed as a handicap that would lead to the

­organisation rubber-stamping ­positions that did not benefit black


The back-pedalling started when Manyi faced an internal revolt in

some of the BMF’s provincial structures for saying on ­Tuesday that Mtoba’s

appointment was against ­transformation.

Thando Mpulu, the chairperson of the BMF branch in Eastern Cape,

said that Manyi had expressed his personal view when he criticised Mtoba.

“It was never the position of the BMF to criticise Mtoba.

“It is good that the BMF has ­finally cleared the air, as the board

of directors had not agreed on criticising her,” Mpulu said.

BMF Mpumalanga chairperson Tlou Seete said: “It would not be fair

for black organisations to not support the appointment of a black person,

especially when she is skilled, competent and holds high professional


He added that Mtoba was not elected on the basis of her skin

­colour but on her qualifications and her ability.

“We should celebrate her ­appointment because we are going to use

her as a gateway to unlock any transformation issues,” Seete said.

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions. publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.