PARLIAMENT & POLITICS
Mzwanele Manyi sworn in as EFF MP a month after joining the Red Berets
Mzwanele Manyi has received a rapid promotion through the ranks of the EFF, being sworn in as a Member of Parliament a month after once again changing political T-shirts.
Former government communications boss Mzwanele Manyi became an EFF Member of Parliament (MP) on Wednesday, just one month after joining the party.
Manyi ditched the African Transformation Movement (ATM) last month, a party he joined in 2019 on the eve of the general elections. He left the ANC to join the ATM, which then placed Manyi at number 14 on its candidates’ list for the elections.
In his resignation letter to the ATM, he said the EFF, being the third largest party in South Africa, is well poised to take over from the ANC quicker than any other party.
In a statement, the EFF said Manyi previously held positions such as CEO of the Government Communication and Information System (GCIS) and director-general of the Department of Labour. It said Manyi’s diverse career spanned roles in sectors such as mining, ICT, banking and auto. It included stints with corporations like Anglo American, IBM and Barclays Bank.
“As a senior public official, he applied his comprehensive knowledge of Treasury regulations, strategic financial management, the Public Finance Management Act, labour laws and B-BBEE policies. His leadership further extended to various boards such as Fosad, People’s Bank, Computershare and Alexor Diamond Mine,” said the EFF.
Daily Maverick has established that Manyi replaced Dumisani Mthenjane, who became an MP in May 2019. Manyi will continue being the mouthpiece of the Jacob Zuma Foundation.
The list of new EFF MPs includes singer and Trompies member, Eugene Mthethwa, and former EFF student command president, Mandla Shikwambana. Mthethwa has been performing at EFF events around the country and is outspoken on challenges faced by musicians.
During the State Capture era, Manyi was known as a Gupta ally as he was often seen at their home. He also bought their ANN7 media assets in a mysterious vendor financing deal. He styles himself as a passionate spokesperson for empowerment.
According to the Zondo Commission report, former president Jacob Zuma’s decision to remove Themba Maseko as head of GCIS and replace him with Manyi was one of the earliest acts of State Capture. He was removed after he refused to cooperate with the Guptas and give in to their demands.
Manyi was accused of supporting State Capture by diverting GCIS’s advertising budget to the Gupta family’s The New Age newspaper.
“GCIS was an enabler of State Capture during Mr Manyi’s tenure,” said Chief Justice Raymond Zondo in his report.
Dr Trust Matsilele, a senior lecturer in the media department at the Cape Peninsula University of Technology, said the EFF doesn’t seem to take seriously or be moved by the findings of the Zondo Commission.
“I’m sure they would rather have Manyi in their fold to spite Zondo if they have to. The question for me isn’t so much about allegations of corruption that Manyi faces that will potentially scupper his endurance within the EFF, it is rather his ability to toe the party line.”
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Matsilele said Manyi has been an independent voice, perhaps in the mould of former EFF member and Black First Land First leader, Andile Mngxitama.
“Such characters are difficult to manage and find it hard to lose their independence, which explains why Andile was ultimately kicked out.”
Matsilele added that it is also not apparent at this stage what unique value Manyi brings to the EFF, as they already have eloquent debaters and politically astute individuals such as party leader Julius Malema.
“Floyd Shivambu is an intellectual, and so is Dr Mbuyiseni Ndlozi. So, to me, this is giving a political life to Manyi, more than anything. I don’t think anyone can advance an argument that Manyi has a constituency he can bring to the EFF.”
The EFF will celebrate its 10th anniversary next month at FNB Stadium. DM