EMBATTLED Deputy Minister of Higher Education and Training Mduduzi Manana has resigned from his position following assault charges.
The Presidency announced on Saturday that President Jacob Zuma had accepted Manana’s decision to throw in the towel.
Spokesperson Dr Bongani Ngqulunga said Zuma thanked him for his services.
“The President has thanked Mr Manana for his contribution to the work of government during his term of office,” said Nqulunga.
Manana assaulted two women at a night club in Fourways three weeks ago after they allegedly labelled him a homosexual.
He appeared in the Randburg Magistrate’s Court on Thursday and was released on R5 000 bail. Manana faces two charges of assault with intent to cause grievous bodily harm.
He later apologised to one of the victims, but she rejected his apology. Manana was also criticised for trying to justify the assault by saying he was provoked.
ANC and government sources have however indicated that Manana was asked to resign instead of being fired.
“He was told leave gracefully instead of having to be fired from the position. President Jacob Zuma was the one who asked him to step down,” said a source speaking on condition of anonymity.
They said Manana initially refused to resign voluntarily in favour of being fired in the hope that would win him public sympathy.
But he changed his attitude after several ANC structures, including the Western Cape ANC Youth League, publicly distanced themselves from and urged him to step down. Some senior ANC leaders such as presidential hopefuls Dr Nkosazana Dlamini and Human Settlements Minister Lindiwe Sisulu also condemned his behaviour.
The ANC welcomed Manana’s resignation.
“The African National Congress notes and welcomes the resignation of Comrade Mduduzi Manana as the Deputy Minister of Higher Education and Training. The ANC thanks Cde Manana for his service to the people of South Africa during his tenure. Announcement,” spokesperson Zizi Kodwa said in a one paragraph statement.
The DA said Manana should be held accountable for the assault and alleged mistreatment despite his resignation.
“The law must now take its course next month when Manana appears in court to answer the charge of assault against him on 13 September. It is high time that those who abuse women, especially those in positions of power, are held to account so that a message is sent that it will no longer be tolerated,” DA Shadow Minister of Higher Education and Training Belinda Bozzoli said.
She said her party had already reported Manana to the Commission for Gender Equality “for the alleged mistreatment of his former secretary as well as other female employees in his department”.