BMF ‘shocked’ at Manuel letter

2011-03-02 12:08

The Black Management Forum (BMF) expressed shock and disappointment today at National Planning Minister Trevor Manuel’s public criticism of its president Jimmy Manyi.

While Manyi declined to comment on Manuel’s scathing open letter to him, the BMF – of which Manyi is president – issued a statement late in the morning.

“The Black Management Forum reacted with utter shock and disappointment at the conduct of Minister in the Presidency, Trevor Manuel,” BMF deputy president Tembakazie Mnyaka said.

“The BMF finds it unbecoming of a Cabinet minister who holds such a respectable position to unleash a vitriolic tirade and personal attack on Mr Manyi.

“The BMF will, however, not be detracted by this attack now and this matter will receive the BMF’s appropriate attention and response at the right time,” said Mnyaka.

Manyi, who is the government’s newly appointed spokesperson, is also the BMF president.

When Manyi was contacted for comment about Manuel’s letter early today, he said: “I’m not going to say a word. Not a word.”

In the open letter, which was published in The Star newspaper, Manuel told Manyi: “I want to draw your attention to the fact that your statements about ‘an over-concentration of coloureds’ are against the letter and spirit of the South African Constitution, as well as being against the values espoused by the Black Management Forum since its inception.

“Mr Manyi, you may be black, or perhaps you aren’t, because you do not accept that label and would prefer to be ‘only a Xhosa’, whatever the label you choose, I want to put it to you that your behaviour is the worst-order racist,” Manuel wrote.

Manuel was reacting to statements by Manyi last year in an interview broadcast on KykNET that there was an “over-supply” and “over-concentration” of coloured people in Western Cape.

Manyi has since apologised for the statements, which come at a time when proposed controversial amendments to labour laws could affect the job security of coloured people in Western Cape, according to Solidarity trade union.

This has been denied by the labour ministry.

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