25 February 2011
Interest groups have an opportunity to raise their views on the Employment Equity Amendment Bill within the Nedlac forum, rather than to focus the public debate on the Government Spokesperson, Jimmy Manyi and mislead the public.
The current debate on the equity Bill has caused Solidarity trade union to revisit a television interview from a year ago where Mr Manyi expressed views on transformation in the Western Cape where the coloured community is in the majority, even though this is not reflected in leadership and management positions in the province.
Solidarity has reportedly argued that Mr Manyi’s comments in the March 2010 interview would be treated as Government policy unless repudiated.
In fact, Government’s policy proposals are contained in the current draft legislation which will soon be subject to the legislative process in Parliament. It is mischievous and condescending for anyone to suggest that the perceived influence of an individual could sway government policy.
The legislative process is one in which all South Africans are routinely invited to participate. The Employment Equity Amendment Bill presents another opportunity for people to express their views democratically.
As a senior public servant, Mr Manyi is guided by the Constitutional assertion that South Africa belongs to all who live in it – this undoubtedly includes the coloured community.
Mr Manyi’s comments a year ago sought to underscore the fact that the coloured community forms part of the whole South African nation, and he suggested that coloured people could take up opportunities beyond the boundaries of the Western Cape.
In this context, Mr Manyi wishes to acknowledge that offence was taken as people interpreted his statement a year ago. For this he apologises unreservedly and calls on all concerned to use the consultation process on the Bill to achieve real transformation.
Meanwhile, concern has to be expressed about the fact that this issue has resurfaced, seemingly as part of a vendetta against Mr Manyi, who was recently appointed as Government Spokesperson – a Cabinet decision that many have sought to undermine.
Vusi Mona, Deputy CEO: GCIS
Cell: 078 021 4035
Issued by: Government Communications (GCIS)