President Jacob Zuma has made it clear that deputy minister of higher education and training, Mduduzi Manana will suffer the extent of the law regardless of his position.
Zuma said he was disturbed and concerned by allegations relating to Manana’s assault of a woman at a night club in Johannesburg. Manana has since confirmed his involvement and apologised. Police Minister Fikile Mbalula has also said that a case has been opened.
Zuma said violence against women was 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 either the perpetrator or victim. South Africa must be safe for all women,” Zuma said in a statement.
Zuma said he had confidence that the law enforcement agencies will deal with the matter effectively in line with the laws of the land.
He urged anyone with information on the matter to cooperate with the authorities.
Manana has apologised for his involvement in the assault of a woman outside Cubana restaurant, Fourways in the early hours of Sunday morning.
Manana, who has been implicated in the attack alongside others, said that regardless of what he termed as “extreme provocation”, he should have exercised restraint.
“That shameful incident should not have happened,” he said in a statement earlier on Monday.
“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.”
Manana said he would subject himself to the process of the law and give his full co-operation.
“I also commit myself to, when the time is right, further engage with [the victim] Ms [Mandisa] Duma and her family to apologise, take responsibility and address the harm that has occurred.
“I will also meet with my organisation, the ANC, and President Zuma to give a full account of the incident.”
Manana also said fake social media accounts had been created, that show “less remorse” to the victim, with the intention to further tarnish his name.
The EFF has called on Manana to hand himself over to the police.
“Manana must also name all the men who helped him deliver the assault, as it is clear he was not the only one doing the beating. If his admission of guilt is genuine, then he must hand himself over to the police with immediate effect and call out his corroborators [sic],” said Economic Freedom Fighters spokesperson Mbuyiseni Ndlozi.
The African National Congress said in a statement that it had noted the accusations against Manana with disappointment, saying such behaviour was unacceptable.
“Such behaviour is unacceptable and should be roundly condemned by all in our society. Regardless of the circumstances or the identity of the perpetrator or victim, violence against women is the shame of our times.”
The ANC Women’s League said in a statement on Monday morning that it noted the “disturbing reports alleging that the deputy minister… and his friends physically assaulted women at a pub in the past weekend”.
“The ANCWL condemns violence against women and perpetrators must face the might of the law. Whilst we take into account the principles of innocent until proven guilty, the ANCWL is resolute in supporting the victims of violence and wishes to reiterate this position.
Minister in the Presidency responsible for women Susan Shabangu said the incident had shocked her.