Manyi is being unfairly criticised – ANC

2011-02-05 14:10

Government’s newly-appointed spokesperson, Jimmy Manyi, is being unfairly criticised and demonised, the ANC said today.

“We firmly believe that Manyi is being unfairly attacked, not based on his academic qualifications or track record in business or government, but purely for standing up for what he believes in,” ANC spokesperson Jackson Mthembu said in a statement.

He said the motives behind the attacks on Manyi were also suspicious since they come before he has even had the chance to “utter a single word as cabinet spokesperson”.

Mthembu lashed out at Rhodes University professor, Jane Duncan, who said Manyi was unpopular in certain circles, including among journalists.

He said her claims were unfounded and without basis.

“To judge Manyi on his performance as cabinet spokesperson before he has even started, Duncan has chosen to rather put the cart before the horse for reasons better known to her.”

Mthembu said it would seem that Manyi was being targeted, especially by academics in the media world, because of his outspoken support for a Media Appeals Tribunal.

“Our suspicions are that those that attack Manyi have not been honest enough to provide genuine reasons for doing so. We believe that their reasons for mob lynching and demonising Manyi is mainly because of his stance and support of the much-talked about Media Appeals Tribunal proposed by the ANC.”

Mthembu said the ANC was certain that the attempt to “demonise” Manyi would fail.

“We also believe that these attempts to demonise Manyi and our Cabinet appointments will in this instance again fail.”

It was announced this week that Manyi would replace long-time government spokesperson Themba Maseko and head the Government Information and Communication Systems.

Media watchers warned that Manyi ran the risk of being bigger news than the story he told.

Analysts also warned that his dual role as government spokesperson and president of the Black Management Forum was a potential source of trouble.

Manyi was axed by former labour minister Membathisi Mdladlana in November last year.

This was hours before Mdladlana himself was fired by President Jacob Zuma in a far-reaching Cabinet reshuffle.

Mdladlana had suspended Manyi in June 2010, reportedly after a diplomat complained that he had tried to negotiate business for his company during an official meeting.

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