IN THE SPOTLIGHT: Mduduzi Manana

THE National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa) on Wednesday urged the government to show its commitment to women's rights by acting against Higher Education and Training Deputy Minister Mduduzi Manana, who has admitted to beating up a female clubber at a night spot.

In the early hours of Sunday morning the deputy minister and friends were at Cubana night spot in Fourways when he beat up Mandisa Duma. Witnesses said the attack followed a spat over the African National Congress (ANC) succession debate, which culminated in Manana being labelled as gay.

A video clip of the assault went viral on social media culminating in an apology from Manana.

Duma has since reported the assault at Douglasdale Police Station. The complainant said Manana and his pals beat her up along with her cousin. A third woman, Duma’s friend, was pushed around when she tried to intervene.

On Tuesday, Police Minister Fikile Mbalula said Manana’s arrest was imminent. By Wednesday morning Manana has not yet been arrested.

Earlier this week President Jacob Zuma expressed concern at the behaviour of the deputy minister. Susan Shabangu, the minister of women in the presidency also laid into Manana for his folly and called for his prosecution.

Acting Numsa spokesperson, Phakamile Hlubi, said the union "rejects" Manana's apology because his life was not in danger as the woman did not pose a threat of any kind to him.

"Sadly, the behaviour of the deputy minister is a reflection of this deep problem that afflicts our society. As a man who occupies a position of power, into which a lot of public trust is vested, he should have done better," said Hlubi, whose comments coincided with Women's Day..

"However, his actions now provide an opportunity for the government for which Manana works for, to demonstrate that if such violence is meted out against women and children, it will act swiftly and harshly to send a clear message to perpetrators."

Hlubi said that if Manana was truly apologetic for his behaviour he would have handed himself over to the nearest police station. 

"His admission of guilt and public apology should be enough to set the ball rolling for his arrest. We also call on the Presidency to demonstrate that no one is above the law," Hlubi said. 

"They must suspend him from office, and subject him to a disciplinary process as he serves at the pleasure of the President."
 
African News Agency (ANA)