DEPUTY Minister of Higher Education and Training Mduduzi Manana has found himself at the centre of a storm following allegations that he assaulted a woman over the weekend.
Pictures emerged on social media depicting the injuries allegedly at the hands of Manana. Luyanda Duma posted the pictures of her cousin Mandisa with a caption: Dep Min of Edu assaulted my sister last night. This is not the kind of behaviour we expect from “so-called leaders” It’s disgusting!!!!!!
It is said the assault followed a heated debate regarding the African National Congress’s leadership race at Cubana in Fourways, Joburg.
Manana is said to have held strong views that current deputy president Cyril Ramaphosa should ascend to the throne while the victim advocated for another candidate. Manana is said to have made a passionate speech about his point and the people travelling with the victim tried to record him. That’s when Manana is said to have lost it and ordered them to leave.
A video clip of the incident has since surfaced on social media. There is also a recorded conversation between Manana and a relative of the victim. The man, Phesheya Duma can be heard confronting Manana about the incident and he admits to the incident but denies having followed the women to the parking lot to continue the assault.
“There was a confrontation and a fight but the people who hit them were the guys I was travelling with. When they got to the parking area they hit them,” he says in the clip.
A livid Phesheya is heard threatening Manana. Manana later on Monday released a statement confirming the incident. He apologised to South Africans for his actions. He said he was provoked but should have known better as a leader of society.
“I wish to apologize unreservedly to Ms Mandisa Duma, her family, the government of South Africa and all South Africans, and women in particular, for the incident that happened at Cubana Restaurant in Fourways over the weekend. Regardless of the extreme provocation, I should have exercised restraint. That shameful incident should not have happened. I know that my actions and those of the people in my company have disappointed and hurt many people in the country. As a leader, I should have known better and acted better. I will subject myself fully to the process of the law and give it my full cooperation,” he said.
The attack has resulted in a barrage of criticism with others calling for his resignation. President Jacob Zuma has also called for those with information to come forward and assist the authorities.
Zuma said Police Minister Fikile Mbalula has indicated that a case has been opened with the South African Police Service.
“The South African Government has made violence against women a priority crime. Women have a right to safety and security and must not be attacked or abused by anyone, anywhere in the country, regardless of the position of the either the perpetrator or victim. South Africa must be safe for all women,” said Zuma.
Minister in the Presidency Responsible for Women Susan Shabangu said she listened to a sound clip and was aware that an assault case has been opened. She called on those who witnessed the incident to come forward.
“Our role, as leaders –young and old, men and women- is to lead by example. The country has entrusted us to represent it at its highest legislative platforms. This is a task we cannot eschew. It is most regrettable that this alleged act of violence is perpetrated only a week into Women’s Month, which we have themed “Women United in Moving South Africa Forward”. It has also happened at a time when the country is tirelessly working to address the high rates of femicide and other brutal acts of violence on women,” she said.
Manana’s party, the ANC has called his behaviour unacceptable and said it should be condemned by all in society. Spokesperson Zizi Kodwa said regardless of the circumstances or the identity of the perpetrator or victim, violence against women is a shame.
“The ANC has consistently made that we seek a South Africa where ‘a young woman in the middle of the night, can walk alone without the fear of assault, attack or rape, going back home from wherever she comes from.’ Achieving this vision requires 365 days of action against violence against women and amongst others, societal leaders that lead by example,” Kodwa said.
“The African National Congress calls upon our law enforcement agencies to act without fear or favour to investigate these allegations and bring the perpetrators to book. As a nation we must unambiguously affirm the rights of women to safety, freedom, justice and equality and send a clear message that as a country, we are united and resolute in our commitment to mercilessly fight this heinous pandemic against our women.”