/ 20 November 2009

Manyi vows to get tough over BEE

The government will get tough on companies who do not comply with affirmative action and broad-based black economic empowerment
laws, Labour Department director general Jimmy Manyi warned on Thursday.

Speaking at a branch meeting of the Sandton African National Congress Youth League, Manyi said his department was planning to introduce a clause into the BEE Act, which would allow government to terminate or refuse contracts of companies that do not comply with the law by June next year.

”When you are breaking the law, something has to happen,” said Manyi.

”Not just discussions as we have now, and asking them to comply. This nicey, nicey, nicey [attitude] must stop.”

Manyi said companies who did not comply to the laws would be singled out and ”named and shamed”.

He said it was his job as the director general to ensure that this happened.

”I do this part with the greatest of passion, so if your company is not complying, something is going to happen to you,” he said.

He was careful to explain that employment equity and affirmative action was not an ”anti-white” policy.

”White people might be the group that gets the most advantage out of it,” he said.

Manyi said the government was also serious about stopping the practice of labour brokering as it was in the ANC manifesto before the elections.

”To regulate it is not enough,” he said.

”When you say regulate labour brokering, you say don’t hit them with a stainless steel hammer, hit them with a rubber hammer, but hit them nonetheless,” he said.

He referred to labour brokers as ”the bakkie brigade”, who rented out the services of labour to employers without providing decent labour conditions.

”They [labour brokers] don’t create any work,” he said. ”They respond to work created by employers.”

Manyi said labour brokering should not be confused with legitimate consulting, placement or outsourcing services.

As president of the Black Management Forum (BMF), Manyi also said that he would not say anything about the recent Eskom leadership struggle, which left the national power supplier leaderless — both CEO Jacob Maroga and chairperson of the board, Bobby Godsell, having resigned.

”The board of the BMF is meeting this weekend and we feel that we have pronounced enough on this issue, and I will not say a word more about it up until we had the meeting this weekend,” he said.

He said ”in general”, however, that ”everything is about racism” in South Africa.

”In South Africa you are naive if something happens out of [the context of] racism,” he said.

”It is the lens through which we all see. It is a given.” – Sapa