The DA will report Deputy Higher Education and Training Minister Mduduzi Manana to the Commission for Gender Equality following media allegations on Sunday that he routinely abused his office staff.
The DA was appalled by the reports of Manana’s alleged treatment of his former secretary and other female employees in his department, DA spokesperson Hlomela Bucwa said.
"Allegations include swearing at his former secretary, making her sit outside his apartment in winter in Cape Town from midnight to 2am as 'punishment', and forcing employees to clean and cook for him," Bucwa said.
"This treatment is nothing less than blatant and sexist abuse and it is untenable that a person in his position gets away with allegedly treating his employees in this manner."
The DA would therefore report these allegations to the Commission for Gender Equality and ask the commission to make recommendations to parliament as well as to the Human Rights Commission on appropriate further steps.
"It had become increasingly clear that Manana was a menace who had no respect for women and treated them as inferior human beings. This was unequivocally highlighted in his assault of a woman in a nightclub last weekend."
"We have furthermore noted ANC Women’s League president Bathabile Dlamini’s defence of Manana and her statement that 'there are those (in government) that are actually worse than him'," Bucwa said.
"Especially in a country such as South Africa, where violence against women had reached pandemic proportions, it was utterly unacceptable for any woman – even more so the president of the ANC Women’s League – to make excuses for this kind of behaviour."
"What message does it send out to women and young girls across the country? That this behaviour by a public representative should be ignored and left unpunished because there are 'others' who are also guilty?"
"This is a shameful statement by Dlamini – one that she should publicly apologise for. Furthermore, she should come forward and report the 'others' who are serial abusers. It is her legal duty to do so," Bucwa said.
Manana, 34, allegedly assaulted Mandisa Duma at a Fourways, Johannesburg, nightclub last weekend. He has subsequently issued a public apology but said he had acted following “extreme provocation”.
Manana was granted R5 000 bail in the Randburg Magistrate’s Court on Thursday on two counts of assault with intent to do grievous bodily harm. The case was postponed to September 13.
Bucwa said that on the day of Manana’s next court appearance, the DA intended to mobilise with civil society and other interested parties to send out a strong message that "we will stand up to any person who violently enforces patriarchy in our society".
Unlike Dlamini, the DA would not stand by and watch as women suffered in silence, Bucwa said.