Norway: Manyi has an agenda

28 May 2010 - 01:13 By Roderick Macleod

The Norwegian government has accused controversial director-general at the department of Labour, Jimmy Manyi, of pushing his own business agenda and rejecting their offer to help promote business in South Africa at an official meeting earlier this year.

The Norwegian ambassador to South Africa, Tor Christian-Hilda, sent a diplomatic letter to the labour department shortly after his meeting with Manyi on March 2, accusing Manyi of acting unethically and attempting to broker deals for private investors with the Norwegian government.

Manyi, however, has denied the allegations, telling The Times: "I do not have a business to promote. They had a problem with BEE, that it was a barrier to foreign investment."

Manyi said he offered to conduct BEE presentations for the embassy at no cost. "I thought it was a simple meet and greet. They had a problem with BEE, and I thought it was my national duty to conduct the presentations to inform them. No business deals or company names were mentioned," he said.

The Norwegian government went as far as to ask for an alternative way to make contact with government on labour issues.

Manyi said he was aware of the letter of complaint. He said Labour Minister Membathisi Mdladlana had "set up a meeting with the Norwegian Embassy to discuss the matter".