SOUTH Africa is a democratic country and people are entitled to their opinions, says government spokesman Jimmy Manyi.
“There’s a freedom of speech, people can say anything they want to,” he said during an interview on SABC2’s Morning Live.
“This country is a constitutionally driven country. We’ve got laws, we have labour laws.
“Everything South Africa is doing the President [Jacob Zuma] has said that we must observe the constitution,” he said.
He was responding to a question about calls for him to be fired over comments he made about coloureds in the Western Cape.
Manyi reiterated that he would not comment on an open letter by Minister in the Presidency Trevor Manuel in which he was labelled a “racist”.
However, he said his remarks had not violated the constitution.
Manyi, then the director-general of labour, said in a show broadcast on KykNet’s Robinson Regstreeks in March 2010 that there was an “oversupply” of coloureds in the Western Cape.
In the open letter, Manuel hit out at Manyi over his comments on coloured people.
The two came face-to-face at the cabinet meeting in Pretoria on Wednesday.
Manyi described the atmosphere between himself and Manuel at the meeting as cordial and professional.
“We smile, we shake hands,” he said.
When asked if it was genuine he said “yes” and laughed heartily.