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'Lay criminal charges' Msimanga dares Manyi in row over Taiwan visit

Picture credit: Antonio Muchave
Picture credit: Antonio Muchave

Tshwane mayor Solly Msimanga has dared former government spin doctor Mzwanele Manyi to lay criminal charges against him for his trip to Taiwan.

The two men have been at twar over Msimanga’s five-day visit‚ which has upset the government because of its cosy trading relationship with China.

Msimanga was this week granted the freedom of the city by the mayor of Taipei. His trip is apparently being sponsored by Taiwan.

The visit drew sharp criticism from the Department of International Relations and Cooperation and the ANC’s Tshwane caucus‚ which described it as “treason”.

Dean Macpherson‚ the Democratic Alliance’s (DA) spokesperson on trade and industry‚ on Thursday morning tweeted: “Congratulations Executive Mayor @SollyMsimanga on being bestowed with the Freedom of the City by Taipei Mayor Dr Ko!”

“This is FRAUD. There are no Diplomatic relations between SA and Taiwan‚” was the response posted by Manyi‚ who the Sunday Times on Friday described as a vocal supporter of the Gupta family and a firm backer of President Jacob Zuma.

“You’re a fraud. Stop trolling‚” was the reply fired off by Macpherson.

Msimanga then joined the discussion‚ chipping in that answering and entertaining “Jimmy” – as Manyi is known by many — was not one of his priorities in life.

Manyi reciprocated with a blistering broadside against the mayor: “You must be investigated for: Irregular use of Diplomatic passport; Breaching DIRCO policy; Security Risk.”

Msimanga‚ who earlier said that Manyi was free to “troll all he wants”‚ hit back with a dare. “Lay criminal charges. I land on Tuesday. It’ll be great to have a SAPS welcoming party organised by yourself‚” he tweeted.

The Sunday Times reported that South Africa‚ keen to avoid a diplomatic falling-out with its biggest trading partner‚ had assured China that the trip to Taiwan had not been sanctioned by the Union Buildings.

Manyi continued the debate‚ firing off a volley of tweets‚ one of which said: “So DA has a strategy to undermine RSA DIRCO policy and thus jeopardise China/RSA Diplomacy& Trade?”

He found support from KGB (?@khonyadunga) who said: “The reason why he behaves like this its because he is pushing the agenda of Rupert and Openheimers.”

Msimanga dismissed criticism of his trip earlier this week‚ saying that “party politics must be transcended by the paramount need to create opportunities”.

Manyi‚ head of policy of the Black Business Council‚ was linked on Friday by the Sunday Times to an audacious attempt by the Gupta family to buy influence in the council. “Who told you this? What you’ve just said is a blue lie‚” he told the newspaper when approached for comment.

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