Jimmy Manyi – one person who always speaks his mind and one whose mind always gets him in trouble – is in trouble again. This time, yes, it has something to do with Coloured people in the Western Cape and, of course, the Employment Equity.
Manyi said in an interview that coloured people “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”.
Personally, I do not think there’s any hate-speech with Manyi’s comments. Of course this uproar was expected given what Manyi has always been know to think about black people, white people and Employment Equity-related laws. That coloured people should spear around the country and that when we, South Africans, “look into the country” we are able to see “where [we] can meet the supply” – is not hate speech at all nor does it amount to or incite any.
And for opposition political parties in the country to call for Manyi’s head is a bit off and miscalculated because at that time – Manyi was speaking on behalf of the Black Management Forum and not as government spokesperson, a position he now occupies. Said Manyi: “This was the BMF position. I have no feelings on any issue. I speak as BMF chairperson or as the government spokesperson”. And he is right to say “this [his remarks] is being personalised”.
Again, by saying coloured people should spread around the country, Manyi is not trying to deny them their own right to reside wherever they want to, but that indeed their “over-concentration” in the Western Cape is not good either for them as a community or for employment equity targets. What’s hating or racist about that?
By the way, this interview with Manyi was broadcast last year March, reportedly on KykNet channel, and only surfaces this year. Isn’t that odd? And what took ‘em so long to make it soooo public and ONLY comment about it now? Worse, Manyi said this at the time when he was still director general of the labour department – a position he has left and one which no-one knows exactly what had happened.
Meanwhile the ANC has issued a statement distancing itself from Manyi’s comments. According to ANC’s Jackson Mthembu, the party “distance(d) itself from views expressed by Government Spokesperson Jimmy Manyi – made in his capacity as President of the Black Management Forum (BMF) in March last year – regarding the coloured community in the Western Cape”. It found Manyi’s remarks as “disturbing” and therefore wanted to “categorically put on record” that his remarks did not “represent ANC nor Government policy”.
Mthembu said in a statement that “any narrow view that coloured people are in ‘over supply in the Western Cape’ and should, therefore, move to other parts of the country to realise their dreams of a better life, is not in keeping with the rights of all South Africans, including coloured people” as this was enshrined in the Constitution.
“What we also find unacceptable”, said Mthembu, “is a description that portrays coloured people as a commodity rather than people who enjoy the same rights as any other South African citizen”. Mthembu said the term “over supply” and “over concentration” were “best used in reference to commodities and not human beings” and that while it believed Manyi “possesse(d) good communication, business and political astuteness” it however believed that “in this particular instance, he has committed a grave error of judgment”.
Of course – and as we’d like to say – the ANC has a right to freedom of expression and right to its opinion which, as we also know, Manyi or me or you can choose to accept or not. So, Manyi was only expressing the BMF opinion and not his. And even if he were, I personally do not think that is as offensive as vowing to “kill the boers”. Or it is?
And yes, these remarks may have been “displeasure” but displeasure with someone’s comments does not equal to hate speech.
Anyway, who knows, you might as well find these comments of mine as “disturbing” as the ANC did that of Manyi. But that’s neither hating nor racism.
The African National Congress welcome the apology made by the Government Spokesperson, Mr. Jimmy Manyi, in respect of the unfortunate statement he made about coloured people in the Western Cape, a statement he made in his capacity as the President of the Black Management Forum last year. This illustrates that we have a person in the name of Mr. Manyi who is able to acknowledge any wrongdoing on his part and show remorse.
His unconditional apology is important in that as a Government Spokesperson, he must uphold the content and spirit of our Constitution and as well as the ethos and values of the governing party.