A public furore has been caused by the media and the ANC regarding Jimmy Manyi’s remarks about coloured and Indian South Africans. Jimmy Manyi, the then Director General of Labour, appeared on Robinson Regstreeks on KykNET on the 09th March 2010. Manyi raised his views on coloured South Africans in the Western Cape.
For the record, his words on coloureds are, “I think it’s very important for coloured people to know that South Africa belongs to them in totality, not just Western Cape. So this over concentration of coloureds in the western cape is not working for them. They should spread in the rest of the country. There’s a requirement of coloureds in Limpopo, there’s a requirement of coloureds all over the country. So they must stop this over concentration situation because they are in over supply where they are. They must look at the country and see where they can meet the supply.”
And his views on Indians, “Indians, we should be having only 3% [of positions on management]. They are sitting at 5.9. I call it the power of bargaining. Indians have bargained their way to the top.”
These comments recently, almost a year after they were made-to be exact, caused a stir, when the videos were brought up by the DA and Solidarity Unions. That they waited a year to bring this to the attention of the public, seems to beg the question, is this an attempt to turn Indian and coloured votes against the ANC? If the comments are indeed an infringement of rights, why wait a year to defend those rights?
Trevor Manuel, subsequently wrote an open letter to him (Jimmy Manyi), in which he said, “I want to put it to you that these statements would make you a racist in the mould of HF Verwoed [former South African prime minister, dubbed the ‘architect of apartheid]” Without a doubt, Manyi’s comments are very divisive and unacceptable, but we also have to question Trevor Manuel’s motives for writing this letter a year later. Was it an attempt to keep the coloured and Indian vote for the ANC? If Trevor does indeed feel so strongly about the matter, surely he would have voiced his opinion last year, when the comments are made.
This ANC circus has been hoarding the media for the last couple of weeks and Trevor Manuel has since received a slap on the wrist from the ANC for his letter and Gwede Mantashe along with Minister Chabane have released statements. The ANC in its entirety has had something to say about the matter, which to me is very disturbing. We’ve had senior ANC members guilty of gross misconduct and worse without a peep from the ANC. I also have yet to hear them comment on the recent Bheki Cele/Public Protector matter.
Many matters that the ANC, as a ruling party, should be talking about get swept under the rug. Matters affecting us, civil society, those who elect them and those who’ve been placed under their care through the ballot. Thus the public interest and concern for the people should over-ride concern for inter-party squabbles, something which seems to elude the ANC. Is a definite case of misplaced priorities in South Africa.