Manyi slams Madonsela

2011-10-01 18:52

Jimmy Manyi, the government spokesperson and president of the Black Management Forum (BMF), has rejected Public Protector Thuli Madonsela’s damning findings about the two hats he wears.

In a strongly worded letter he wrote in reaction to Madonsela’s damning conflict-of-interest report, Manyi:
» Accuses Madonsela of smearing him in a way that is “grossly unfair and unconstitutional”;

» Confirms he will continue to participate in the “cause” of the BMF;

» Slams Madonsela for damaging his and the country’s reputation; and

» Effectively accuses her of suppressing transformation.

Madonsela on Wednesday released her report into Manyi’s roles as then director-general of labour and BMF president. She found he was conflicted.

In his letter, Manyi says it was unfortunate that Madonsela’s findings had the “unintended consequences of impugning not only my reputation and personal integrity, but that of the government as well”.

City Press understands that Manyi’s letter followed a meeting of government communicators held at the Government Communication and Information System (GCIS) headquarters on Thursday.

Manyi is said to have told the meeting that he was given the Public Protector’s report the night before Madonsela went public with her findings, and that his representations had not been factored into the final report.

The Public Protector investigated Manyi after receiving a complaint from the Institute for Accountability in Southern Africa about an alleged conflict of interest between his government duties and his private interests as BMF president.

Madonsela’s investigation found that:
» There is a perceived conflict of interest between Manyi’s job as GCIS boss and Cabinet spokesperson, and his position as BMF president “which may lead to an actual conflict of interest if not properly and effectively managed by the relevant executive authorities”;

» Manyi’s personal interest in the BMF had conflicted with his duties when he was the director-general of the labour department;

» Manyi had flouted the public service code of conduct and the rules of the Public Service Commission, which required him to excuse himself where his decisions would have been influenced by the conflict; and

» Former labour minister Membathisi Mdladlana had not complied with the relevant sections of the public service code of conduct and the rules of the Public Service Commission, which required him to manage the conflict as the political head of the department.

Madonsela’s report recommends that Manyi should step away from his interest in the BMF, be excluded from decision-making processes, or that some or all of his official government duties be changed.

In his letter, that was also distributed to BMF members, Manyi said he rejected Madonsela’s finding that there had been a conflict while he was heading the labour department.

“In my current role as CEO of GCIS and Cabinet spokesperson, the Public Protector has not found any conflict other than what could be in the minds of certain people, hence the term ‘perceived conflict’.

“Even in that regard, steps have long been taken to address that matter by ensuring that the deputy president of the BMF is the one that makes public statements on behalf of the (forum).

“I do not participate in Cabinet meeting discussions nor formulate Cabinet decisions. I simply communicate them and thus am in no position to influence the decisions,” he said.

Madonsela’s office confirmed that the reports had indeed been given to Manyi the night before she released it.

Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa also received a report on his accommodation spending on Tuesday night.

Momelezi Kula, the executive manager for outreach, education and communication in Madonsela’s office, said both Mthethwa and Manyi got “provisional reports regarding their respective investigations long before the final reports were released”.

In Mthethwa’s case, Madonsela found that the minister could not be held responsible for booking accommodation in luxury hotels.

The report recommends that the process of reviewing the ministerial handbook should be sped up “to provide clarity on ethical considerations regarding executive accommodation”.

Police ministry spokesperson Zweli Mnisi said his department welcomed Madonsela’s findings as they cleared Mthethwa of any wrongdoing.

» On Wednesday, Business Day reported that Madonsela had handed a report on Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Minister Sicelo Shiceka to President Jacob Zuma, requesting him to take “serious action” against Shiceka for misusing state funds on personal trips.

» Also on Wednesday, Madonsela rejected Public Works Minister Gwen Mahlangu-Nkabinde’s explanation that two controversial leases for police buildings were signed before her tenure.

Madonsela stated the leases “happened under the minister’s supervision”.

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