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Ben Trovato

@ Sunday Times Books LIVE

Mixed signals, crossed lines and communications disasters courtesy Jimmy Manyi, Telkom and Rica

Around the world, communications help to keep social and economic engines running. Not here, though. In fact, I think it’s fair to say that the tower of Babel had a more effective communications network than we do.

Take Jimmy Manyi. No, really, take him. I wish you would. Preferably back to the planet he came from. You would think the government, when appointing someone to speak on its behalf, would look for someone with the mind of a psychologist, the soul of a poet and the interpersonal skills of a public relations specialist. But you would be wrong. Instead, they hired someone with the mind of a sociopath, the soul of a tyrant and the interpersonal skills of a Serbian cage fighter.

Even though he is a civil servant, Manyi is clearly not an idiot. How is it possible, then, that he can blink all Goebbels-like behind his glasses and say: “I cannot understand why the media is so hostile to the government.” Is it possible he genuinely doesn’t know that whatever hostility may exist has been exacerbated immeasurably by his shameless arrogance and the Red Army-like threats and commands he issues while holding court during cabinet media briefings? I doubt it. I think he is very aware that he is causing a breakdown in relations between the press and the government. Manyi is a mouthpiece. A big-talking, low-rent agent provocateur. A weasel in wolf’s clothing. Forget about confronting the puppet. You need to get to the puppeteer if you want to know what’s really going on.

So much for Manyi and communications disaster number one. Number two is – yes, all seven million of you with your hands up, you guessed right – Telkom.

The multitude of captains lunging blindly at the helm of this anchor-dragging catastrophe of a company aren’t fit to run a flea market. They should be hunted down, stripped naked and flogged mercilessly.


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