Chabane dismisses Manyi complaint

Cape Town - A complaint by the Norwegian Embassy against newly-appointed government spokesperson Jimmy Manyi is "neither here nor there", Minister in the Presidency Collins Chabane said on Thursday.

Chabane told journalists during a post-cabinet briefing that no case had been proffered against the axed labour department director general for allegedly trying to solicit business from Norwegian diplomats in an official government meeting last year.

"With regard to the issue of the Norwegian diplomatic note from the Norwegian Embassy, obviously if there is no case proffered against Mr Manyi ... our employment cannot be determined by anyone else except by the rules we have in government," Chabane said at the briefing in Pretoria.

"The case against Mr M(anyi) is neither here nor there for now."

Chabane said Manyi had been on special leave which "kicked in whilst he was acting in that case".

"Because the case is no longer valid, the special leave does not work. The special leave was related to the case itself."

Chabane announced on Wednesday that Manyi would replace long-time government spokesperson Themba Maseko as the Government Communication and Information Systems (GCIS) CEO and cabinet spokesperson.

Maseko would take up the post of director general in the public service and administration department (DPSA).

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 cabinet reshuffle.

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

Manyi reportedly appealed for his job back to the new Labour Minister Mildred Oliphant after the cabinet overhaul.

Manyi is president of the Black Management Forum (BMF), a position he has battled to hold on to, with former leaders of the forum describing him as unfit to hold office.

Chabane said he saw "no conflict" with Manyi's position as president of the BMF and the work he would do for the government.

"With regard to issue of Black Management Forum, it is not an issue we discussed. As far as I am concerned, from where I stand, there is no conflict between work Mr Manyi will be doing at the BMF.

"Any issue which arises along the course of the work we are going to deal with it as it comes, but as we stand now there is no conflict at all."

Chabane said Maseko had been redeployed to be the director general of the DPSA "in terms of the rules".

"In terms of the rules, the president can redeploy DGs," he said.

"On the motivation as to why... In the public service there are always people who move from one area to (an) other.

"The department of public service and administration has been operating with an acting DG since the former DG left. It is important for us to stabilise the administration."

Manyi, who was present at the briefing on Thursday, has refused to comment on "that saga".

"I'm opening a new chapter in my life. I'm excited that I have another opportunity to serve my country," he said.
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