07/10/2010 Jimmy Manyi President of BMF during their Annual conference at Sandton JHB. (801) Photo: Leon Nicholas

Government spokesperson Jimmy Manyi was under fire on Thursday for having said that the Western Cape has too many coloured people.

Manyi made the comments on a show broadcast on KykNet's Robinson Regstreeks show in March 2010, while he was still the director-general of labour.

The criticism from Solidarity comes days after the union pointed out that around one million coloured people stood to lose their jobs if amendments to the Employment Equity Act (EEA) became law.

“Let me just make some few comments here on the last discussion on coloured people,” Manyi said in the interview with host Freek Robinson.

“I think it's very important for coloured people in this country to understand that South Africa belongs to them in totality not just the 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... so they must stop this over-concentration situation because they are in over-supply where they are so you must look into the country and see where you can meet the supply.

“This Employment Equity Act (EEA) is a very good act in this country,” he said.

The interview was posted on the internet site YouTube by Solidarity on Thursday.

Manyi could not be reached for comment, despite repeated attempts.

In the interview, he said the rest of the country should be looked at to see where there was a demand for coloured workers.

Solidarity said that unless the government repudiated Manyi's statements and withdrew the proposed amendment to labour legislation, the remarks would continue to be regarded as the government's official standpoint.

“The proposed change to the EEA, in terms of which national demographics and not regional demographics in provinces must be taken into account, corresponds with Manyi's views,” the union said.

“The amendment makes provision for a large-scale social engineering programme according to which the entire country must be an exact replica of the national demographics.”

According to Beeld, Manyi also told the Steel and Engineering Industries Federation of South Africa on 12 May 2010 that absolute representation is the only measure for employment equity.

“The proposed amendment to the EEA is therefore not ambiguous,” Solidarity said.

“In fact, the amendment is a clear reflection of the effect of Manyi's ideological framework of representation and is not an inadvertent mistake.”

Solidarity said on Sunday that if the proposed amendment to the EEA is implemented to the letter, close to 80 percent or about one million, of all economically active coloured people in the Western Cape will be over-represented.

In addition, if the amendment is adopted, more than 300,000

Indians in KwaZulu-Natal will be over-represented.

“What we did with the figures was to point out the absurd consequences of the ideology of absolute representation.

“The ideology is now contained in a proposed amendment to legislation. We propose that the proposed change be withdrawn immediately,” said Dirk Hermann, the deputy general secretary of Solidarity.

Solidarity said the problem with the bill was not limited to the removal of the regional demographic profile of the economically active population.

In terms of the current legislation, present and future financial and economic factors can be taken into account in determining whether an employer complies with the EEA.

The availability of qualified people can also be taken into account.

The new act does not make provision for these factors.

Solidarity's “research” has been rejected by the both the ANC and Congress of SA Trade Unions.

ANC Chief Whip Mathole Motshekga the “so-called research is a dangerous political game” and that it was “unthinkable” that the ANC would “seek to disadvantage” those they had liberated and sought to empower.

Cosatu described the union's claims as “inflammatory and irresponsible”.

The Democratic Alliance said the amendments were “unconstitutional” and that it was “unfortunate” that the effect of the ANC's proposed legislation “arbitrarily targets coloured and Indian South Africans in the fight to generate prosperity”. -

Sapa