Higher Education Deputy Minister Mduduzi Manana's alleged role in the assault of two women outside a nightclub has been condemned by the ruling part. File picture: Chris Collingridge

Johannesburg  - The African National Congress (ANC) on Monday voiced dismay at reports that Higher Education Deputy Minister Mduduzi Manana and friends had assaulted two women in a nightclub and called for a police investigation.

"It is with great disappointment that the African National Congress has noted the accusations of violence against women leveled against the Deputy Minister of Higher Education and Training, Comrade Mduduzi Manana," ANC spokesman Zizi Kodwa said.

"Such behavior is unacceptable and should be roundly condemned by all in our society."

Kodwa said the ruling party was committed to its pledge to make the country a safer place for women.

"The African National Congress calls upon our law enforcement agencies to act without, fear or favor to investigate these allegations and bring the perpetrators to book. As a nation we must unambiguously affirm the rights of women to safety, freedom, justice and equality and send a  clear message that as a country, we are united and resolute in our commitment to mercilessly fight this heinous pandemic against our women."

The African National Congress Women's League (ANCWL) earlier said it had "noted the disturbing reports" about Manana.

"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," said Meokgo Matuba, ANCWL secretary general.

One of the complainants, identified as Mandisa Duma, said she reported the assault at the Douglasdale Police Station.

"Based on media reports, we are led to believe that a case has been reported to the police and we urge all witnesses to come forward to assist  law enforcement agencies in resolving the matter," said Matuba.

The ANCWL said all shall be equal before the law and "we are hoping for a fair and just trial as no one is above the law". 

The incident reportedly happened at Cubana in Fourways in the early hours of Sunday morning following a heated argument about the ANC succession debate and with the woman allegedly calling Manana gay. 

"As we mark the 61st anniversary of the women's month, society must unite against the scourge of violence against women and children. Women's rights are human rights."