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04 Jun 2010 16:40
Labour Department Director General Jimmy Manyi was suspended from his job on Friday, Labour Minister Membathisi Mdladlana’s spokesperson, Page Boikanyo, confirmed.
Boikanyo declined to provide further details, saying the matter was “sub judice”.
Manyi made headlines recently when Norway’s ambassador to South Africa requested a meeting with Mdladlana to raise concerns about Manyi’s conduct during an official meeting.
“There were certain things discussed and the way in which they were brought up in that meeting that we did not appreciate,” ambassador Tor Christian-Hilda told the South African Press Association last Thursday.
Christian-Hilda and two other senior diplomats from the Norwegian mission met Manyi in Pretoria in early March to discuss Norway’s cooperation with South Africa’s decent work programme through the International Labour Organisation.
He said black economic empowerment (BEE) policies were discussed at the meeting, but declined to elaborate further on his reasons for sending a diplomatic note to International Relations and Cooperation Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane, from where the matter was passed on to Mdladlana.
“I do not want to go into the details of what happened,” he said.
Manyi said last Thursday the meeting had turned to difficulties Norwegian companies were having with BEE, at which point he offered to brief them in detail about government’s policies in this regard.
“As the discussion flowed, the issue came up of challenges Norwegians were having with BEE. This is why I offered to give them a presentation about BEE and how it works,” he said.
Manyi, who is also president of the Black Management Forum (BMF), said he saw nothing untoward about his offer and was surprised that the diplomats took offence.
Manyi was reportedly recently told by Mdladlana to choose between his job as director general and the presidency of the BMF.
But he said he did not think this was necessary because he was already in charge of the BMF when he was appointed by the Labour Department last year.
“So there is nothing in the process of me getting the job indicating that I have to renounce anything,” Manyi said.—Sapa
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