8.10.2009

Manyi Plays Down 'Conflict of Interest'

Johannesburg — DEPARTMENT of Labour director-general Jimmy Manyi was re-elected president of the Black Management Forum (BMF) yesterday after his opponent Bonang Mohale withdrew as a candidate at the last minute.

This means Manyi holds two positions of power -- one in the government and one in civil society -- raising concern of a possible conflict of interest.

Manyi's role as labour director- general requires enforcement of labour law while the forum is a policy lobby group and represents managers -- many of whom are in the private sector that Manyi will be policing.

"I continue to hold both these positions unashamedly. There is definitely no conflict of interest in both these positions," he said.

Manyi said there were two factors at play when considering a conflict of interest. "First you must declare conflict and manage it."

"I have declared to the BMF that I'm the labour department's director-general, and now I have to manage it," he said.

"Conflict of interest will always happen, it's the name of the game," Manyi said.

According to Manyi, the positions are intertwined.

The forum would not disclose reasons for Mohale's withdrawal.

Manyi said that Mohale, a seasoned BMF member, felt that in the interests of preserving unity it was best that he withdraw from the race.

Mohale, who is the chairman and vice-president of sales and marketing at Shell SA, was not present at the media briefing to comment.

"I want to thank Bonang for allowing the process to run smoothly. I really owe him one, I think he did what was in the interests of this organis ation," Manyi said.

Mohale was reportedly approached by some of the provinces to stand against Manyi. It is understood that he initially declined, citing work pressure, but then agreed .

Manyi is the former chairman of the Commission for Employment Equity, and he represents the forum at Business Unity SA.

Even before taking up the position of director- general, he threatened legal action against companies that did not comply with employment equity targets.

"In both positions, I have only one mission, and that is to ensure that SA is totally transformed."

Manyi said he believed there would be a lot of collaboration between the department of labour and the BMF.

Gaba Tabane, MD of the BMF, said that he welcomed the news of Manyi's re-election.

"We recommend to corporate SA to take advantage of this opportunity to engage with policy makers in government, and government leaders to take time off to listen to some of the private sector imperatives," he said.

The BMF's KwaZulu- Natal chairwoman Tembakazi Myaka was elected deputy president. (AllAfrica)

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