Police Minister Fikile Mbalula briefs media on the allegations of assault against deputy higher education minister Mduduzi Manana.. PHOTO: Chantall Presence/ANA
DURBAN - Police Minister Fikile Mbalula on Thursday sent out a strong message to his colleagues in government not to expect any favours when they found themselves on the wrong side of the law.

“My interest as the minister of police is to send a message to colleagues and everybody that when it comes to justice, we can’t be friends. It might be painful, but the law must take its course. There must be no favouritism,” Mbalula said.

He was addressing the media as Deputy Minister for Higher Education Mduduzi Manana appeared before the Randburg Magistrate’s Court in connection with charges of assaulting a woman at a nightclub at the weekend.

Manana, who handed himself to the police yesterday morning after being warned, was released on R5000 bail.

Mbalula expressed his disappointment with his colleague for the manner in which he allegedly behaved.

“We are saying that the case in point of the deputy minister is very disappointing because we expect an individual like him to act as an ambassador in the protection of women against violence.

“Nonetheless, everybody is presumed innocent until proven otherwise, and nobody is above the law.”

Mbalula explained that the delay in not arresting Manana was to enable the police to prepare a tight case to present in court, rather than simply to arrest him because of his high-profile status.

“They had to collate all information presented to them,” he said.

Mbalula acknowledged that society had been edgy and had wanted Manana arrested and brought to court for his alleged action. “The deputy minister availed himself to us and has been fully co-operative. Citizens have rightfully demanded that this case be treated seriously and urgently due to the identity of the perpetrator. I agree.”

He also said the police could not rush the case to court as it was not an emergency and rushing cases often led to bungling.

Mbalula insisted that Manana would not receive special treatment or any favours.

“Deputy Minister Manana will not be treated with kid gloves and will face the full wrath of law.”

Mbalula also said an investigation had been launched to establish if Manana’s bodyguards were present during the alleged incident.

“It is subject to investigation whether or not he was with the police when that particular action happened. Equally, it is a matter that concerns me because the police who guard him report directly to me,” he said.

Daily News