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March 3, 2011

Jimmy Manyi – not the only communication faux pas

By now the Jimmy Manyi faux pas on the coloured people in the Western Cape and the resultant broadside from senior minister, Trevor Manual are well-documented.

Not that I want to put the boot in whilst someone is down, but the government does set itself up for ridicule. Here it is – An unnamed member of the provincial executive committee (PEC) made this statement (from Sunday Times, 27 February – Blast from ANC led to Manyi apology): “Whoever is doing this is exploiting the fears of the coloured voters, but we know that coloured voters are not that unsophisticated and will see right through this thing.”

Maybe I’m being to picky, but what does “not that unsophisticated mean? Is the coloured voter a little bit unsophisticated, quite a bit unsophisticated, a lot unsophisticated? Those three words give the impression that the PEC member believes that there is a level of unsophistication in the coloured voter. All he/she had to say was that ” … coloured voters are sophisticated and will …”

That would have scored more points.

God and the devil is in the detail. Thus, government officials, business executives and all of us should take a bit more time with to improve our communication skills.

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