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Handover speech at the Triennial AGM held on the 3rd October 2012 at Gallagher, Midrand by the outgoing President of the BMF Jimmy Manyi Today, 03 October 2012 marks the end of my term as President of the BMF after 6 years of service with various boards that must take the lion share of credit in terms of providing strategic direction for the organisation. I really cannot thank my fellow board members enough for sticking with me through thick and thin. I survived a “recall”, lol. A special mention for the role that Mncane played as MD in my 1st term with Nomhle as Deputy and indeed Tembakazi during my 2nd term for being so complimentary to me and ensuring a crack free presidency especially during my most difficult period in 2010. Let me take this opportunity to especially thank her for the firm and unequivocal support she provided. While some may in their opinion have reduced her loyalty to being my proxy, this support was however based on the loyalty to Presidency as a unit and the organisational values, discipline and recognition of the importance of unity to BMF Board in particular. Most can attest to her robustness and frankness during 1 on 1 discussions, balanced with her ability to diffuse situations by picking up the phone to ask warring parties to take discussions offline to find solutions in order to preserve unity. Some of our memorable discussions, op-eds vs. sound bites, with her always preferring to think deeply and longer about issues vs. quick responses, and the maturity she displayed during the concerned group matter. I also should hasten to thank the National Office staff who have always been friendly and supportive to me. Membership at large for the confidence you had in me over the years. Indeed we found a solid organisation from our predecessors and we made our modest contribution. This is a very emotional moment for me, last night the MD, Mr Nicholas Maweni was saying to me that from Thursday I shall be suffering from withdrawal symptoms. So please allow me to digress just a little and sketch very briefly my personal association with the BMF. It must have been around 1988 and I remember very well I was driving in a bakkie on my exploration geology work in Carletonville area. I heard Lot Ndlovu on the radio talking about the paucity of black managers in the work place and the lack of opportunities available to them. He made an impassioned but unapologetic plea for change. Needless to say everything Lot said rung true with my own situation in the Mining industry. That defined my relationship with Lot, a fighter for emancipation of the oppressed black professionals. After 5years of supervising many geological drilling operations and involvement in ore reserve estimations, I thought I was ready for promotion. The answer from the employer was a solid “No”, and the reason proffered was that in order to rise to senior geologist level I needed to have 3D experience of the ore body. In short that’s what took me to Welkom to work in the mines for a further 5years, I did however get promoted to Senior Geologist level after 2years of toiling 3km underground at temperatures of sometimes 40 degrees. Back to BMF. In 1989 I joined the Welkom branch of BMF and later became manager secretariat under the branch chairmanship of Mr Klaas Bogopa. In 1992 had the privilege to fly in an aeroplane for the 1st time during a trip to Cape Town for a BMF Conference. I remember appreciating the 3D formation of the clouds, what a spectacle I thought. The keynote speaker was the late Chris Hani. He spoke about the low intensity warfare being waged against the black majority. His speech was obviously political yet provided a solid base for us to interpret our own economic situation at that time. I argue today that we are facing yet another low intensity warfare, albeit more economic but waged largely by the same people, only this time with a bit of help from our own. When the black people were being shipped as slaves from the Continent to Europe, US and elsewhere it was the other blacks that assisted the masters to catch and load the other blacks. Interestingly I was once in Gorie Island in Senegal in the exact spot where slaves were being shipped off and I was with Dr Reuel Khoza. I have had the privilege of being consistently and continuously involved in the BMF and have been a protégé of icons like Bra Don Mkwanazi, Prof Nkuhlu and Lot Ndlovu. Having served on the BMF board since 1995 as Provincial Chair of NW, Acting MD, co-opted Director when Bonang was Deputy President, Co- opted Director when Nolitha was MD, Deputy President and finally President, am arguably double title holder, longest serving board member and Longest serving President. This colleagues has allowed me a near perfect opportunity to reflect on the evolution of the BMF over the past 23 years of my being continuously an active member in good standing. I am indeed proud of my BMF history and am also trying to send a subtle message to the recently joined BMF members that nothing beats experience and that a dose of humility is always advisable when dealing with anyone with a bit of grey hair or completely bald, lol. In 1996 I had a singular privilege of representing the BMF at Nedlac during the drafting of Employment Equity Act, where my 1st strand of white hair started. This is when Loyiso Mbabane was the Director of Employment Equity having taken over from Mpho Makwana. Nedlac was still at the Metal Box building in Parktown. In 1997 I had another unique privilege in the Stellenbosch BMF Conference of being seated next bab'JB Magwaza when he raised the motion that, BEE had no direction and required the kind of approach that the BMF had taken in the early 90's during the development of the Basotho Hat formula and Affirmative Action blue print. This motion was adopted and the rest is history. The 1st meeting of the BEECOM happened I think early 1998 in Toyota SA where I was General Manager. Yes I am unashamedly claiming to have been right there when it happened so that we can separate fact from fiction. Again without digressing it must have been in 1996/7 when I sold a Toyota Prado to Bonang. This is when the Mercedes ML was still very fashionable but Bonang bought from me and he told me that it's not like he didn’t like a Pajero or the ML which were very popular then, but that he just wanted to support me, a couple of years later he bought a Pajero, lol. I can tell you more stories about my association and interactions with Bonang including his 40th birthday; I flew especially to when he tried to live in Cape Town. When I told the Bonang “lobby team” which he by the way he inherited from me after a very good training, that I go a long way with Bonang I could see that they thought I was name dropping. Again back to the BMF. Now that hopefully I have intimidated some of you or at least displayed some of my BMF credentials, I hope you will give me a bit of licence to say the following. The profile of BMF members has radically changed in the last 10years. In the past a BMF member would typically be aware of a family whose bread winner had lost a job or would personally be a victim of a similar situation. So the issue of poverty, helplessness and the need to help out was infused into the system without anyone teaching another on how to co-exist. When in the BMF we say 1st we are black then we are managers it's not a racist statement but rather an attempt to come to terms with our reality and the connectedness to the plight of our communities. We used to argue in the BMF that a BMF manager faced with the prospect of cutting down costs will not easily think about retrenchments because they would have a much better appreciation of what happens when there is no bread winner. A BMF manager would rather find innovative ways to increase productivity and revenue inflows. This community setting defined the values and the culture of the BMF. When the BMF argued for the advancement of black managers, the idea was to transform the culture of the organisations so that it can reflect the values and culture of the wider society. It was for a more inclusive dispensation. The development of black managers was not an end in itself. The then BMF members used to sacrifice evenings and weekends for good quality debates on whole range of issues around transformation. There used to be very effective unofficial mentoring. Lot and Bra Don were my mentors without any official arrangements. Bonang used to sponsor me with his Affirmative Action transparencies and none of them expected anything in return. In BMF meetings there was no howling at each other and no “point of order”. I really am happy today that we still have the critical mass of the kind of discipline that I have described hence the BMF is still going strong. Today we have a calibre of largely young but principled, educated and well behaved membership. Our student chapter is much disciplined and our young professionals take themselves seriously and are very determined. Our stalwarts could be integrated better in the life of the BMF but most of them continued to attend National BMF functions. We older folks do however have the responsibility to bridge the information gap about the past so that the present can be properly contextualised lest the young people become vulnerable to the expedient operators. Sadly though, we do find top black executives some with strong BMF background that seem to have been transformed by the establishment instead of the other way round. It's indeed a tragedy to hear some of the pronouncements by some of our leaders denigrating their own. Africans are the worst at this. I am yet to hear a Jewish guy publicly chastising his own in public. At the height of oppression of black people I don't remember a similar kind of slur by the white community against the oppressive regime. Indeed there were white people who did not agree with the oppression of black people. But did they have regular columns dedicated to denigrate the oppressive regime? No Did they at a whim find it easy to ridicule their own leaders? No What’s wrong with our black folks of today? What happened to the communal spirit? What happened to being each other's keeper? Why do we rejoice at each other's downfall? Colleagues in the Chairman's overview in the Annual report I reflect on the key achievements and challenges of the BMF but for this session I thought we should focus on reclaiming our values as a people in general and as BMF members in particular. Posture Towards Government We have a democratically elected ANC led Government. If BMF is a microcosm of the society, then indeed there are more ANC members in BMF than members of other political parties. But here we are 1st BMF and then whatever political affiliation. Whereas we are not apolitical we are however nonpartisan. Whereas we are non-partisan we are however not a proxy for opposition parties. Yes indeed the BMF must assert its independence but that cannot be defined by being a Government basher. The value system of the BMF must dictate how to engage with stakeholders including government. The BMF approach must be distinguishable from your normal liberal approach Posture Towards Big Business The reason our core mandate is managerial leadership development is not just for the sake of it, but to bring about diversity of thought so that you don't have a homogenous top structure that sets policy for a heterogeneous base. When we fight for black managers to be top executives it's not because we want them to outperform white people in being white. We do have genuine white people! I refuse to listen to an articulation and not be able to distinguish where it comes from. Race consciousness and Racism must not be confused. Asserting your race and culture is not a statement to denigrate other races and cultures. Racism is a negative phenomenon where some people think that on the basis of their race they are superior to others and then act in a prejudicial manner. Affirmative Action is largely a race based strategy aimed at achieving a race blind end. It seeks to correct the historical imbalances. The Constitution of SA understands and accepts the concept of a fair discrimination to address the historical imbalances. Why do we have black people that are colour blind when it is in their favour to be black? Is it self-hate? Why do we have black people that are comfortably driving an agenda they don't own? Why are black executives pretending as if they own productive assets they don't own? Why is the BMF not naming and shaming the black executives that are “house niggers”? Posture Towards women We have in previous AGM’s taken resolutions of gender parity but during election time we find all kinds of reasons not to give women opportunities. Why do we run meetings until 22h00 at night when it’s unsafe for women to travel alone and also knowing very well that we still have patriarchy challenges in our own homes? Why is it that we black males treat women similar to how blacks get treated in the corporate............perpetual training no graduation! Posture Towards Media Have we done a due diligence to know who owns media......Yes Why all of a sudden do we think the media agenda and ours is the same? Why are we allowing ourselves to be so gullible? Why are we allowing one of us to be played against another? Why are we allowing the media to set the agenda for us? If you allow the enemy to draw you into his battle field who do you think will be the victor? In conclusion I pledge my full support to the incoming leadership. I shall not interfere nor undermine my own leadership. If I think the organisation is going astray I shall raise the alarm in a constitutional manner through my branch. I trust that the deliberations of today shall be disciplined and observe a proper decorum and there shall be tolerance for each other's views and no point of order. I commit to being an active rank and file member, as we reclaim some of our discipline, culture and honour. Mna ke ndiyinto apha yase maBambeni, uGobingca, uKrila, uThangana, uRhaso, u Bhodlinja!
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