‘Manana’s co-beaters must also pay’

Mandisa Duma, one of the women who was allegedly assaulted by Deputy Higher Education Minister Mduduzi Manana last weekend, says Manana must turn in the other men involved in the attack on her.

Duma, speaking to the Mail & Guardian this week, claimed that Manana and four or five of his male companions beat her outside the Cubana restaurant and club in Fourways, Johannesburg, in the early hours of Sunday morning.

The men, who had sat with Manana at a table inside Cubana, had dragged her to the ground and slapped her, she said. Blows and kicks to her body prevented her from standing.

Her two friends were also beaten, Duma claimed.

“My whole body is in pain. I still need to go to the gynae tomorrow, because I was being kicked everywhere around my stomach,” she said.

Manana has been charged with two counts of assault with intent to do grievous bodily harm (GBH). The case was opened by Duma and one of her friends with her that night.

Duma has said that three women were assaulted in the Cubana parking lot. They had been chased out of the club after a argument erupted between Manana’s group and Duma’s group about who would be the ANCs successor after the party’s December elective conference.

The alleged beating began when one of Duma’s friends called Manana gay. Duma said the comment was meant to convey that the deputy minister was “being dramatic”.

On Thursday, Manana smiled and greeted some men he recognised in the courtroom after he was granted R5 000 bail in the Randburg magistrate’s court. He was not asked to plead and the case was postponed for further investigation. Magistrate Liesel Davids extended bail on condition that Manana does not directly, indirectly or through a third party contact witnesses, victims or their families.

It emerged this week that Manana had a previous case of assault opened against him by a woman in Ermelo, Mpumalanga. The incident allegedly occurred at Nesto Shisanyama and Lounge in July, according to Zinhle Mokhohlane (22), who opened the case. It was withdrawn after the parties reached an agreement.

Mokhohlane told TimesLive that Manana had spilled beer on her and had thrown her on a car bonnet. He then hit her, she said. She has since withdrawn from media attention.

Duma heard about Mokhohlane’s story on social media and said it pointed to a pattern of violent behaviour on the part of her alleged attacker.

“That is what is upsetting the most, that there are more people that he’s done this to. That means that every other weekend, we as women are in danger of being assaulted by this guy,” she said.

The names of the other men involved in the alleged assault have not yet emerged. Shortly after he confessed to the attack outside Cubana, Manana said his “actions and those of the people in my company have disappointed and hurt many people in the country”.

His apology did not soothe public outrage. Manana has so far been unresponsive to the revelation about the reported assault in Ermelo and the delay by police in arresting him, despite the fact that his confession has fuelled widespread anger.

Police Minister Fikile Mbalula had described Manana’s arrest as “imminent” during the week, but Manana was only taken into custody once he had presented himself to police.

Phindi Louw, spokesperson for the National Prosecuting Authority, said Manana turned himself in to the police on Thursday morning and made his first appearance in court that afternoon. She explained that because assault GBH is a schedule one offence, the state cannot keep Manana behind bars.

“We had no grounds to oppose bail, hence we agreed on an amount of R5 000,” she said.

Louw denied that Manana had received any preferential treatment in court. She said the investigating officer had told her Manana came to court in a police van after he handed himself over at the Douglasdale police station.

Duma was not in the courtroom on Thursday, but said that all the men involved in the attack should face prosecution. “He must bring those friends so that we know who they are, so that they can be charged as well,” she said. 

Raeesa Pather
Raeesa Pather
Ra’eesa Pather is a Cape Town-based general news and features journalist.
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