BMF hiding its head in the sand

2011-10-15 07:58

The Public Protector’s findings on the conflict of ­interest complaint about the dual roles of Jimmy Manyi ­ requires scrutiny of the BMF practices that allowed this to arise.

The complaint was made by advocate Paul Hoffman of the Institute for Accountability in Southern Africa about Manyi’s dual roles as Black Management Forum president and director-general of the labour department and the Government Communication and Information System (GCIS).

The elective AGM of October 2009 was the genesis of the ­forum’s glaring inability to fulfil its constitutional obligation governing a member’s conflict of interest.

The Western Cape delegation ­objected to the re-election of Manyi on the basis of a conflict of interest that would arise in light of his appointment as director-general of the labour department.

Manyi was nevertheless re-elected unopposed as the result of a ­sudden withdrawal by Bonang ­Mohale, who was nominated by the Western Cape.

The Western Cape objection brandished a politically driven agenda by the then minister of ­labour, Membathisi Mdladlana, when he welcomed the re-election of Manyi. It is interesting to note the former minister’s 360-degree turnaround in the Public Protector’s report.

The BMF Western Cape maintained the conflict of interest ­objection even after Manyi’s ­appointment as the head of the GCIS.

This was evidenced by the special members’ meeting that the province convened in April this year to vote on a motion of no confidence against the forum’s president.

The manner in which the president conducted the meeting highlighted the shortcomings of the organisation in encouraging critical discourse within the BMF. The ill-fated meeting was unable to ­proceed on the matter as it was convened without following the forum’s articles of association clause on special members’ meetings.

Although the chairperson of the province undertook to convene ­another meeting that complied with the articles of association, nothing has been done to date.

Noting the response by Manyi to the Public Protector’s report, the BMF should recognise the implications of the report and come up with remedial action. Dismissal of the report won’t do any good.

The seriousness of this matter is highlighted by the Public Protector’s requirement for the minister in the presidency to submit remedial action. The BMF should take the report seriously and institute remedial action. The manner in which this is done should inspire confidence in the process.

Matheta Swafo is a director of Seapea Mabje Corporation Governance and a ­member of the BMF. He writes in his ­personal capacity

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