Sat Oct 22 05:43:32 SAST 2016


By unknown | May 21, 2010 | COMMENTS [ 0 ]

THE self-appointed champion of transformation, Jimmy Manyi , has a penchant for putting his foot in it and not being big enough to say "I was wrong".

THE self-appointed champion of transformation, Jimmy Manyi , has a penchant for putting his foot in it and not being big enough to say "I was wrong".

Instead, Manyi stoically sticks to his indefensible position and fights for principles that he himself is not prepared to live up to. In English, that is called hypocrisy.

Pious preachers tell us that the "devil loves nothing better than the intolerance of reformers". Manyi and the Black Management Forum's fit of pique over the election of Futhi Mtoba as the new leader of Business Unity SA is nothing short of intolerance and hypocrisy.

Even their nonsensical retraction following the public outrage and the groundswell of support for Mtoba is a case of mumbo jumbo reasoning.

Apart from being a loud and stubborn rabble-rouser, I am not sure what else motivates Manyi and his Black Management Forum.

He has built his brand on the premise of being a valiant defender of the underdog and a resolute reformer, but is he really?

Mtoba, a chartered accountant with a sterling pedigree, was elected president of Busa. As director- general of a department that is assigned to implement the government's policy on gender equity and affirmative action, you'd think Manyi would grasp the significance of Mtoba's election.

It is an even more superlative achievement, given Mtoba's track record not only in corporate South Africa, but in the mentorship of young black women accountants.

But, oh no, Manyi thinks this milestone is a "blow to transformation".

This criticism stems from the fact that Mtoba is associated with established business through her position at Deloitte and would thus be a puppet of big business. Of course, this has no substance.

Manyi himself was associated with established business when he was the group executive of corporate affairs for Tiger Brands, the company that colluded to fix the price of bread - a staple food for many poor South Africans.

If he was so committed to transformation, why was he not more vociferous in speaking out against a practice that is clearly designed to steal from the poor and make food un-affordable?

Instead, during an interview on the matter, he gave me a feeble "we condemn the actions of those responsible".

He failed to take responsibility for the company he represented because it was expedient to do so.

So who is the puppet?

When public outrage isolated the BMF's unpopular and malicious stance over Mtoba, Manyi employed the same tactics of evading the issue and pointing the finger elsewhere.

The about-turn statement read: "The BMF expresses regret at the confusion following the statement intended to decry the Goliath approach by big business in the Busa presidency race ... it is unfortunate that a seasoned transformation agent like Futhi Mtoba got caught in the crossfire."

How cowardly. She was caught in the crossfire precisely because she was the target of Manyi and the BMF's venom.

If, according to the BMF, Busa is a Goliath and its election approach is flawed, then subsequently, the victor, Mtoba, is also flawed.

You cannot criticise the process and the people in charge of it yet purport to be behind the person elected.

Manyi must just be gracious and not try to obfuscate or spin his way out of this with long-winded lies. If he has such an aversion to "Goliath approaches" he should first have tackled the Goliaths at Tiger Brands.

He should also barge into the offices of the Goliaths of Aurora mines, who through their incompetence have run the Aurora mine into the ground, not paid workers and engaged in practices that are polluting the environment and the water that is life's source to the people in that area.

As the biggest transformer and DG of labour, Manyi should care how the workers there are treated.

But he won't because to do so means he will be going against politically connected individuals with surnames like Zuma and Mandela.

In the final analysis, we must be judged by what we do and not the slogans we shout.

Manyi must be reminded that "history is the chronicle of divorces between creed and deed".

Walk the talk, sir.


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