Manyi splits BMF

2010-05-29 08:32

A potential showdown is looming at the Black Management Forum (BMF)

over Jimmy Manyi’s dual role as its president and ­director-general in the

labour department.

The BMF board is scheduled to meet on Saturday and indications are

that the ­matter will be highly contested.

Some board members are unhappy about the negative spotlight that is

being cast on the organisation because of Manyi’s implied ­conflict of


The board is the only BMF structure that can alter the governance

and running of the organisation, outside of the elective ­conference.

There are those on the board who support Manyi.

Says Peace Ntuli, the deputy chairperson of BMF in the Northern

Cape: “There exists no policy position in the BMF that senior government

officials cannot lead our ­organisation.”

Ntuli is not a board member but he is a spokesperson for the


He adds: “We will continue to support our president in both roles.

The issues our president raises don’t sit well with people who want to keep the

status quo of an ­untransformed South African workplace.”

BMF Northern Cape was the only province to comment on the matter on

the record. City Press spoke to three other provincial leaders, who did not want

to be identified. Some of whom support Manyi.

The news of divisions on the BMF board add to what has been a busy

week for Manyi.

On Wednesday, Manyi and some board members met BMF’s stalwarts to

discuss the matter of him continuing to hold dual ­positions. The stalwarts are

understood to be against him holding both jobs.

Bheki Sibiya, who led the BMF from 1999 to 2003, said he could only

confirm the meeting took place.

“We felt the issues raised at the meeting were cordial and

constructive and should not be for public consumption.

“What I can say is that we were happy that the BMF president met

with us and listened to our views,” he added.

Nolitha Fakude, the BMF president from 2004 until 2006, was also

not prepared to provide more information.

“We had a very good meeting with Jimmy and his leadership and they

committed to ­reflect on our arguments and then decide on how the BMF would move

forward,” she said.

Fakude said the stalwarts were there just to play an advisory role,

but would expect Manyi to give them feedback on the concerns they had


“The issues that were raised are urgent matters and we do not

expect them to drag on for a very long time,” she explained.

Though they don’t make management ­decisions, the stalwarts are an

important power base within the organisation.

That there was a meeting with them suggests that Manyi may lose

their support for his ­presidency.

Manyi also had to fend off allegations of lobbying for the

interests of private businesses, using his government position.

The Norwegian embassy filed a complaint with the government that

Manyi had tried to ­lecture that country’s companies on black economic

empowerment (BEE).

Manyi said he did not understand the ­discomfort he had caused by

offering advice to ­Norwegian companies on BEE.

“These attacks suggest that there is a witch-hunt against me,”

Manyi said.

Earlier in the week he was defiant.

He told a broad-based black economic empowerment seminar in Joburg

on Monday that “Manyi is not choosing anything. I have a big enough head to

carry both hats”.


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