BMF backs Manyi

Post March 1, 2011 By Zara Nicholson

The Black Management Forum has warned “anti-transformation forces” to keep their hands off president Jimmy Manyi, and said it “stands by the correct context” of Manyi’s remarks on an “over-supply” of coloureds in the Western Cape.

Manyi’s remarks were widely condemned by opposition parties and the ANC but he has since “unreservedly apologised” for his comments and the offence they caused.

The forum has finally spoken out on the issue of Manyi’s remarks about coloured people, which he made during an affirmative action debate on TV last year, when he was director-general of labour. He is now a government spokesman.

Black Management Forum (BMF) deputy president Tembakazi Mnyaka said in a statement: “The BMF stands by the correct context of the statement which was meant to ensure a wider and broader representation of all race groups in all nine provinces, in line with national demographics of the country and as guided by the Employment Equity Act.”

She said the current publicity around Manyi’s views on transformation in the Western Cape should not be allowed to obscure the “deep-seated need for socio-economic justice, fairness and equity”.

BMF managing director Nomhle Nkumbi-Ndopu said: “The BMF refuses to engage on these negative games. We appeal to all concerned to engage in the public process on the Employment Equity Act amendments and on any related matter of concern.

“The BMF is a non-racial organisation and will continue to advocate its objectives unapologetically in line with its transformation objective.”

ANC MP Professor Ben Turok said he was “astonished” that the BMF was supporting Manyi’s comments.

Turok said: “I understood that the word ‘black’ in South Africa related to black, coloured and Indian people. The statement by Manyi originally had a clear effect on coloureds and Indians.

“The BMF must say whether they represent Africans only or do they represent Africans, coloureds and Indians. They need to indicate how the legislation to use national demographics can be justified with the consequences it has on the other two groups (coloureds and Indians). If that is their view, then there is a huge disservice to the cause of creating a non-racial society.”

Mnyaka responded saying: “The BMF is a non-racial organisation. We also have white members. We support the correct context of the statement not the distorted interpretation. It essentially says South Africa belongs to all who live in it. If we were to continue with perpetuation of racial spatial patterns that confined certain groups to certain regions, we would not be able to address issue of national demographics in employment equity. The economically active population of all race groups should reflect in all nine provinces according to national demographics”.

In a letter to the Cape Times, Turok said fortunately Manyi had apologised for his remarks but said the one aspect that still merited attention was that the BMF should have disassociated itself from Manyi’s views.

Mnyaka concluded by saying: “The BMF, led by its president, will not be deterred from the transformation cause. Jimmy Manyi is a fearless campaigner who speaks his mind on national issues.” - Cape Times

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