Speaker Baleka Mbete Picture: Courtney Africa/ANA

PARLIAMENT - The Speaker of the National Assembly Baleka Mbete on Wednesday voiced concern about the latest assault allegations against African National Congress (ANC) Member of Parliament (MP) Mduduzi Manana and said she would ask Parliament's ethics committee to include these in an ongoing probe that was sparked by his earlier assault conviction.

Mbete said it was commendable that the National Prosecuting Authority was investigating his assault of his Zimbabwean domestic worker, despite the fact that she had withdrawn a complaint to the police.

"Violence, especially violence against women and children and the vulnerable in our society, is a scourge which we must combat without compromise. Often the survivors of violence, especially domestic violence, drop complaints which they lodge with the police. This occurs for various reasons."

She said though Manana must be considered innocent until proven guilty, he was subject to the parliamentary code of ethical conduct designed to hold them to a standard of propriety and integrity.

"The purpose is to create public trust and confidence. It requires, among others, that Members of Parliament uphold the law and promote and support ethical conduct by leadership and example," the Speaker said.

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"Public representatives are expected to carry themselves in a manner befitting their status and office as honourable Members of Parliament, both inside and outside of Parliament."

She noted that last year Manana was convicted of assault and sentenced to a fine of R100 000 or 12 months’ jail, and required to complete a rehabilitation programme plus 500 hours of community service. 

"His conduct is also a subject of an internal parliamentary inquiry through the Joint Committee on Ethics and Members’ Interests."

In the light of "the latest worrying reports regarding Mr Manana’s conduct", Mbete said she would instruct the committee to also investigate these accusations and make a recommendation.

Manana was forced to resign as deputy minister of higher education last year after assaulting a woman in a night club.

Now, his former domestic worker Catherine Wiro has accused him of pushing her down the stairs at his Fourways residence. 

He has denied wrongdoing and made a counter accusation that Wiro and her family extorted R100 000 from him.

The Minister in the Presidency for Women, Bathabile Dlamini, has expressed serious concern that Manana again faced accusations of assault, saying MPs must live up to the values of the Constitution.

African News Agency/ANA