Sibiya and Ndlovu ask Manyi to choose

2010-05-22 13:03

To be or not to be, is what the Black Management Forum (BMF) is

contending with in the run-up to its 33rd annual gala dinner on June 5.

Former leaders of the BMF are divided on whether the current

president, Jimmy Manyi, should continue to hold

his BMF presidency as well as that of ­labour department director-general.

This week City Press took the pulse of some role players to find

out if they believed that the organisation tasked with championing the

advancement of black managers was still on track.

Thando Mpulu, chairperson of BMF Mpumalanga who was the only

provincial leader willing to comment on the record, admitted that the province

had ­always thought that wearing the two hats was a challenge for Manyi.

“But that does not mean we are disowning him as our president.

Manyi was elected democratically at our ­annual

general meeting,” Mpulu said.

Lot Ndlovu, who led the organisation

between 1995 and 1999, said it was not wise for Manyi to serve in both positions. “Holding these two

positions creates confusion in the minds of the people as the government and the

BMF do not have similar objectives.

“What side will Manyi take if the

­labour department and the BMF have different views?” asked Ndlovu, who said he remained a committed member of the

organisation because he believed it stood for a good cause.

He said the BMF’s criticism of ­newly elected Business Unity SA

­(Busa) president Futhi Mtoba was too hasty. “The BMF made a mistake to ­include

Mtoba in their criticism of the dominance of big business at Busa. I think ...

the BMF sent out the communication without really thinking about the

consequences. Any ­organisation that has strategies will from time to time

commit mistakes,” he said.

Ndlovu added that it was good for the

BMF to continue probing and criticising the power dynamics at Busa.

Bheki Sibiya, who led the BMF from

1999 to 2003, said Manyi needed to be engaged in a

discussion to get him to choose: “There is nothing

wrong with him relinquishing the BMF position and having his deputy run for the

rest of the tenure.”

Don Mkhwanazi, BMF president ­from 1986 to 1991, said he could not

see why people criticised the BMF’s stance on Mtoba’s appointment.

“It is Busa’s tradition that the president represents established

business while the chairperson represents emerging firms or vice versa,” he


He said the BMF leadership had ­foresight and vision but was

misunderstood by the general public.

“The BMF leadership is doing a very good job,” said Mkhwanazi, who

is ­frequently consulted on some of the BMF board’s decisions.

George Negota, who was president ­between 1984 and 1986, said he

fully supported the current leadership as it reflected the mood of the


“I think the BMF is still effective and relevant and critics might

be misunderstanding its role. If the leadership has a strategy that is effective

across the country, what the BMF does on the ground would reflect that

strategy,” said Negota.

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