Former finance minister Trevor Manuel retired from active politics in 2014 and shortly thereafter made headlines when he became a senior adviser and deputy chairman to the Rothschild group of companies.
One of his most notably public political spats during his career was with then director-general of the department of labour Mzwanele “Jimmy” Manyi, who famously stated that there was “an oversupply of coloureds in the Western Cape”.
In 2011, Manuel penned a fiery open letter (he is known for writing them) in response to his ANC comrade Manyi, in which he not only criticised Manyi’s comment but told the then Black Management Forum (BMF) president that he was against “the values espoused by the BMF since its inception”.
He slammed Manyi for what he described as the BMF president’s alleged failure “to appreciate the extent to which your utterances are both unconstitutional and morally reprehensible”.
He called Manyi a racist in the mould of HF Verwoerd, and said the man was exactly the kind of person the now late Nelson Mandela had spent his life fighting.
So there’s no love lost between the two men, and it’s therefore little wonder that Manuel has been irritated by the fact that it’s this very same Manyi who has taken the lead in laying charges against Manuel after allegations emerged of financial impropriety involving him.
You can read about that story and the details around it here.
In brief, it involves possible charges that may be brought against Manuel by the Hawks for Manuel allegedly signing off on an SA Revenue Service modernisation contract worth R100 million, currently standing at R1 billion, without following due processes. The public protector may also investigate.
When The Citizen approached Manuel for comment last week, he was immediately irritated: “I don’t talk to newspapers. Goodbye, thank you.” Pressed further, however, an angry Manuel lashed out: “I won’t respond to rubbish, okay. Is this Mzwanele Manyi? Tell him to go and take a flying … rude word. Don’t call me again about rubbish like that.
“Go and take it to the Hawks and do whatever you want to do. It is rubbish, okay, it is rubbish, rubbish, rubbish, okay?
LISTEN TO THE AUDIO:
“And don’t ever call me about anything that Mzwanele Manyi has said, because you will start off my day on a bad note. I don’t want that, okay? I don’t know where you got this number from but please stop calling me.”
He continued along the same vein a few days later, when The Citizen asked for Manuel’s email address to send him questions in writing. He declined, saying: “I’m not a public person. This is my private number. Don’t ever call me ever again. Take out my number out of your bloody system. I’m not here for you, go away. Go away … just go away. Don’t bother me. I won’t bloody give it (the email address) to you. Why must I give it to you?
“…I have no interest in that case. Just don’t f***ing bother me … just do not bother me, okay. I have no business talking to you, and you have no business talking to me. Bye-bye.”
– Additional reporting and audio by Vicky Abraham