Manuel would've consulted ANC - analyst

2011-03-02 18:03

Johannesburg - Cabinet member Trevor Manuel probably consulted ANC bigwigs before writing his scathing open letter to government spokesperson Jimmy Manyi, a political analyst said on Wednesday.

"They knew it would create a stir," said analyst Adam Habib of the University of Johannesburg.

"Strategic calculations are being made about the Western Cape. I cannot imagine that he has not consulted widely on this matter. I think there would have been a strategic calculation made."

However, Habib said he believed at the same time that Manuel was "really angry" about comments Manyi made in an interview broadcast on kykNET last year, in which he said there was an "over-supply" and "over-calculation" of coloureds in the Western Cape.

"Read the letter... the tone of the letter... the fact that he [Manuel] has gone back in history, touching on what he [Manyi] has done in the struggle," said Habib.

"The scale of it, the articulation of it, the harshness of it suggests that he [Manuel] is really angry and he feels violated in some personal sense."

In the letter published in The Star newspaper on Wednesday, Manuel called Manyi a "worst-order racist".

Huge sacrifices

Last week, Solidarity trade union posted a clip on YouTube of the kykNET interview from last year.

Manuel pointed out to Manyi that the "coloureds" were the sons and daughters of those who had fought anti-colonial battles and who had made huge sacrifices in the struggle against apartheid.

"By the way, what did you do in the war, Jimmy?" asked Manuel, who was the head of an African National Congress task team in the Democratic Alliance-dominated Western Cape aimed at repairing party divisions ahead of local government elections later this year.

Habib said it was clear that Manyi had become an "embarrassment" for the government.

"The question is... can they facilitate a quiet exit, because this could become even bigger than it is now.

"It could galvanise the racially chauvinist wing and I don't think the ANC wants to do that. They don't want to open up a fight in the ANC about non-racialism versus Africanism."

Were they stupid?

Habib said the government should be asked why it appointed Manyi in the first place.

"I understand a deployment, but in government communications? It was foolhardy in the most extreme sense. The government must bear some responsibility. What was going through their heads in the first place? Were they stupid?"

In an unexpected move, Manyi was appointed government spokesperson in February, succeeding the widely respected Themba Maseko.

At the time, opposition parties and political analysts cried foul, questioning the wisdom of having a government spokesperson who also held the position of Black Management Forum president.

Public apology

Manyi was the director general of the labour department but was suspended in June 2010 by the previous labour minister, Membathisi Mdladlana, following a complaint by the Norwegian ambassador who accused Manyi of using an official meeting to promote his private interests.

Manyi appealed to Labour Minister Mildred Oliphant to be reinstated in his post after Mdladlana was replaced in a Cabinet reshuffle last October, but was instead placed on special leave.

His special leave ended when his new appointment as government spokesman was announced.

Habib said he believed the only way for Manyi to survive this would be to make a public apology.

"The best-case scenario for government is if Jimmy goes nationally and says, I am really sorry. The question is, does he have the humility for this?," said Habib.

Misleading claims

Manyi's comments about coloureds were released amid growing controversy over proposed amendments to labour laws.

One of the key criticisms against one of the amendments has come from Solidarity deputy general secretary Dirk Hermann.

He said the proposed amendments could amount to "a massive and unfeasible social engineering programme" with nearly one million economically active coloured South Africans in the Western Cape having to earn a living in another province if they were signed into law.

This was denied by Oliphant, who said claims by Solidarity that 80% of coloureds would lose their jobs in the Western Cape were "unfounded, misleading and mischievous".

Worst-order racist

Manyi said in the controversial kykNET interview: "I think it's very important for coloured people in this country to understand that South Africa belongs to them in totality not just the Western Cape.

"So this over-concentration of coloureds in the Western Cape is not working for them.

"They should spread in the rest of the country... so they must stop this over-concentration situation because they are in over-supply where they are so you must look into the country and see where you can meet the supply.

"This Employment Equity Act (EEA) is a very good act in this country," said Manyi.

In his open letter, Manuel said: "I want to draw your attention to the fact that your statements about 'an over-concentration of coloureds' are against the letter and spirit of the South African Constitution, as well as being against the values espoused by the Black Management Forum since its inception.

"Mr Manyi, you may be black, or perhaps you aren't, because you do not accept that label and would prefer to be 'only a Xhosa', whatever the label you choose, I want to put it to you that your behaviour is the worst-order racist".

  • Ed - 2011-03-02 18:23

    What is the purpose or validity of an insincere apology?

      jkoorts - 2011-03-02 18:54

      the same as the confusing and empty term 'disciplinary action'. Wtf does 'disciplinary action' mean?

      jouplesier - 2011-03-02 19:56

      so this one/two times manyi made some small racist remarks/observations and all of the sudden he is a "worst-order racist"....but when malema sings KILL THE BOER and makes racists intimidating comments about white people no one (other than the whites) says a word!!- in fact the anc even backs him in court oh and please tell me that "BLACK Management Forum" isnt an obvious racist organization; i gues it only starts being racist when its not aimed at whites!

      AJ - 2011-03-03 04:56

      @Ed: Agreed, and alsoI have never understood a politically motivated 'calculated' or 'strategic' move if everyone knows that is precisely what it is in the first place. It sort of removes the legitimacy of the intentions of the move in the first place.

  • Shisstirrer QBE - 2011-03-02 18:29

    OK , this has been going on for some time now , can we hear the other side of the record please ?

  • G.du Plessis - 2011-03-02 18:32

    Strategic? Surely it is more likely to drive coloured voters away from ANC in Western Cape and Northern Cape? It was a heart-felt statement I think - nothing strategic..

      jkoorts - 2011-03-02 18:56

      you're stupid. it is strategic. the ANC makes jimmy the scapegoat, crucify him and then the ANC are the heroes, and coloured people vote ANC again.

      G.du Plessis - 2011-03-02 19:30

      Thank-you! At least I know when to use capital letters! The reason I don't think it is strategic, is that it would be "stupid" for a party to create more divisions as this has now done. COSATU and ANCYL have a poor relationship, so why sour things even more, especially when the ANC alliance is so fragmented? Also Manyi is a Zuma loyalist, so that would be an awful thing for the ANC to do.

  • Grant - 2011-03-02 18:32

    This has gone way too far for an apology, sincere or otherwise. Manyi should have been shown the door after the embarrassment he caused both the government and the country over the Norwegian episode. His position, not only as the head of the Black management forum, but his failure to see it as a conflict of interest, should have rung all sorts alarm bells prior to his appointment. But, then again the gov has no problem with a 'black' forum. All hell would break loose if a 'white' forum was formed.

  • Mpinchi6 - 2011-03-02 18:32

    Mr Manual, I respect you for berating Jimmy, that brainless fop! The ruling party requires courage leadership, of which, You have demonstrated. Now Sir, please guide Jimmy's boss to fire him for his lack of government-wide policy comprehension.

  • Hans-Erik Iken - 2011-03-02 18:32

    A public apoligy by mr. Manyi in my opinion would be too little too late. It would be perceived as opportunistic and disingenuous to do that now, after he first had a spokesperson claim that he was sorry etc. He should resign and maintain a shred of dignity that way. As president of the BMF he still has a job doesn't he? If the ANC wishes to have some sort of damage control they will invite him to resign. Should he refuse he should be fired. This saga has cost them a lot of votes again and has polarised the nation along racial lines even furhter. Trevor Manuel probably did consult or at least informed other ANC cadres about his intention to write his open letter. I will also accept it is probably meant as damage control for the polls. But I do believe that mr. Manuel was really offended by it and he knows how his people in the Cape feel about this. Even if it was a planned action to do damage control I am happy to see that certain people still are willing to speak out against the opportunistic 'professional' ANC cadres that seek to advance themselves even if it means stepping on other people. Now if mr. Manuel would only write a similar letter to Malema and his cronies.

  • - 2011-03-02 18:34

    Aplogiy not accepted. Manyi don't belong in government. Manyi come and visit us on the Cape Flats and speak your rubbish. The ANC can tolerate you and racism but we in the Western Cape don't.

  • ricardo.solomons1 - 2011-03-02 18:44

    I don't believe an apology is acceptable either. That's just words and what he said at that moment was said in truth cause that was exactly how he felt at that moment and still do...and my thing is this, WHY IS HE NOT LABELLED A RACIST?...Or is somebody thinking out a new PC term for what he said just to cover up this whole debacle...

  • Benzo - 2011-03-02 18:45

    How does the ministerial team find time to govern the country? ....address maintenance backlogs in road, rail, electricity, education, housing and "create" all these promised jobs????

  • Chris - 2011-03-02 18:50

    Yes of course Mr Manuel has NEVER been guilty of racist speak? Accept maybe in Manuel says Manyi’s quote was “unconstitutional and morally reprehensible”. Manuel’s 2005 letter to Donald Lee, defending quotas in sport: “The choice before us is either to leave matters as they are and carry forward racial distortions in sport, allowing for the sons and daughters of those who have had privilege to represent all of us, or we can effect some corrections to ‘level the playing field’.” Then from a second letter to Donald Lee, in response to Donald’s statement that demographic representivity is racially deterministic: “I do not wish to dwell on the issues of detail, save to say that you are incorrect from first principles." However the Constitution (Act 108 of 1996) states, under the Equality provisions at Clause 9(2)states: Equality includes the full and equal enjoyment of all rights and freedoms. To promote the achievement of equality, legislative and other measures designed to protect or advance persons, or categories of persons, disadvantaged by unfair discrimination may be taken. So Mr Manuel, are you not also a racist?

  • G0ldf!nger - 2011-03-02 18:52

    Is Jimmy Manyi the lovechild of Steve "Pompies" Hofmeyr & Naledi Pandor? Coz he certainly doesn't believe his black!

  • G0ldf!nger - 2011-03-02 18:54

    This reminds me of Thabo Mbeki's historical speech "I Am A Coloured."

  • lldoidge - 2011-03-02 19:04

    Ireland won their cricket match against England! Now that is GOOD news!!!!!

      Dave - 2011-03-02 21:02

      See how all of this is diverting our attention?

  • johnbradfield27 - 2011-03-02 19:19

    The ANC is demonstrating clearly that they are a racist organization. The ANCYL is going along, "Monkey see, monkey do". This started under Mbeki (even more racist than Zuma) and has continued under Zuma.

      Umfaana - 2011-03-02 19:36

      You are a racist, we the ANC including Trevor do not need you as a spokesperson. It is our problem ANCYL is out of line.

      Dave - 2011-03-02 21:05

      Oh cr@p Umfaanna...the Anc is the most racist organisation ever....and it not only your so called problem....but if it is, then what the hell are you dpoing about it?

  • burtfred - 2011-03-02 19:31

    Call me a racist - I don't care. The Irish beat the English in a world cup cricket match, Kaloo Kalay, oh happy day!

      G.du Plessis - 2011-03-02 19:50

      Lets hope we don't slip up now!

  • Micheal - 2011-03-02 19:33

    You sure told him bra Trev!

  • Umfaana - 2011-03-02 19:33

    Manuel and We do support the ANC, we will fight our battles and Manuel will be the winner. ANCYL is a dying horse last kick buddy, you not our comrades ANCYL of today you are empty ma pimps.

  • za101 - 2011-03-02 20:00

    mercedes benz advertisers on black management forums website force german xar manufacturer to withdraw advertisment of BAF

  • Duke - 2011-03-02 20:58

    Would it be fair then to say their is an oversupply of blacks in SA. Jimmy Manyi should be the pied piper and lead this oversupply of his type into the sea.

  • Andy - 2011-03-02 21:01

    Whats with all this apology crap. This doos makes these racial statements because it is the way he thinks. If he did not think that way he would not say the things he say's, so his apology is worth nothing.

  • Perfume - 2011-03-02 21:43

    Producers, writers, directors where are the actors in this whole scene. Did they really think Mr Manuel as a Coloured was going to shut up!!!!

      Mxhuma - 2011-03-02 22:41

      Is he speaking only because he is coloured?

  • Iron John - 2011-03-02 21:56

    Orchestrated pre-election games. Good cop, bad cop. There were many more serious breaches of the constitution on a monthly basis for more than a decade, and Mr Manuel only raises (a) this issue (b) now ?? Desparate stuff from the ANC. Quite surprising

      Iron John - 2011-03-02 21:58

      Of course, Mr Manuel has never had a hint of racism over him in all his life. He is squeaky clean, the bastion of racial relations. Whatever

  • anthony.schluter - 2011-03-02 22:10

    ANC Playing political games end of story!

  • Mxhuma - 2011-03-02 22:42

    Shoo! it is really hot in the kitchen!

  • bongscy - 2011-03-02 23:08

    the african National Congress leadership has realy let us down as they hav becomev very week in disciplining their bullies and cronnies holding top posistions

  • bongscy - 2011-03-02 23:14

    what a joke in this anc led government, Mr Manyi insults people publically and wow he gets a promotion...bulshit

  • monresmit - 2011-03-03 10:38

    Its all just a matter of selective racism. That's all.

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