Manyi’s exit ends claims he founded party – ATM boss

The African Transformation Movement (ATM) leadership is breathing a sigh of relief after its head of policy Mzwanele Manyi jumped ship to join the EFF this week.

According to ATM president Vuyo Zungula, Manyi’s departure will once and for all bury the “perception” that he had formed the party.

Speaking to Sunday World in Johannesburg yesterday, Zungula said the party had been at pains trying to dismiss talk that Manyi was the brains behind the formation of the organisation in 2018.

But with Manyi now gone, the party will no longer have to explain itself to doubting Thomases that “he was just a member who joined a moving train”.

“By Mr Manyi leaving, it deals with this perception that he founded the party. You will recall that Mangosuthu Buthelezi founded the IFP and is still its president emeritus to date. Bantu Holomisa and Terror Lekota, same thing,” said Zungula.

“The perception that he formed the party cannot stick because this person joined a party; he was there when the manifesto was launched and the formation of structures across the country, and now he is leaving.

“For us, I think his departure is going to serve as confirmation to people that there is no way he could have formed a party that now has two seats in parliament and is prominent in holding the executive accountable, then he leaves. This is irrefutable evidence for people who wrongly believed he formed the party.”

Manyi got tongues wagging in political circles on Friday when he announced that he was joining the EFF where he believes he will “make a better contribution”.

Zungula said there was no bad blood or internal fighting that forced Manyi out. This despite Manyi only having sent his resignation letter on Thursday evening before he announced his new political home in the early hours of Friday.

The departure of Manyi, now a seasoned political party hopper, said Zungula, would not affect the ATM in any way because although Manyi was its head of policy, his was a basic contribution, adding to the ideas of other leaders within the

The ATM, charged Zungula, was never dependent because even he, as president, wrote his own speeches without consulting Manyi. To this end, the ATM was looking forward to increasing electoral support come next year’s general elections.

The party would also hold its national policy conference in July without headaches as it had capable people across its ranks and “our policies are not centred around an individual”.

Also, he believes Manyi might have been enticed by the fact that the EFF was bigger than ATM. His political career prospects might be bolstered more within the red berets than a fledgling opposition they are.

Said Zungula: “If you look at the electoral support of the ATM versus that of the EFF in the 2019 elections, one would say the EFF is bigger than us. So, you know how it is in terms of career moves. Sometimes you leave a growing company because you want to be part of what in your view is a bigger company.

“So in our view, we have a person in Mr Manyi, who believes EFF is a party somewhat bigger, and somewhat the right party for him to become part of based on where he is in life, and what he wants to contribute. It is a matter of personal decision. It is not about us as a party.”

Zungula said he had a good working relationship with Manyi in the ATM and he holds “no grudges” in his decision to move on to the EFF.

“There was never tension, rumblings or fights between me and him whereby we do not speak to each other. There is no negative impact on us by his departure. We existed during his time here and we will continue to exist in his absence.”

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