Johannesburg - On the same day that Deputy Higher Education Minister Mduduzi Manana was charged with assault for attacking a young woman, another prominent activist was meant to appear in the same courthouse for the same reason.
Radio and TV personality Shaka Sisulu was this week brought before the Randburg Magistrate’s Court, charged with assault with intent to do grievous bodily harm.
The State has claimed he allegedly hit the mother of his child against a door at his Morningside, Sandton home.
Sisulu, who is the grandson of Struggle stalwarts Walter and Albertina Sisulu, came under fire earlier this year, accused of spearheading a covert ANC unit that aimed to discredit opposition parties.
Reports from earlier this year suggested Sisulu had invited ANC supporters to join the campaign and use their social media accounts to promote pro-ANC content as part of an alleged Twitter war room.
While Sisulu has rubbished the propaganda claims, this week he once again landed in hot water after being charged with assault. Two sources close to the investigation said the alleged attack was apparently the culmination of an argument over collection of child maintenance money.
It’s understood he made two brief appearances at the court this week, the first time on Monday when he was released on R500 bail. While his case was postponed to Thursday, the same day Manana was appearing - he apparently failed to arrive, with a warrant of arrest issued in response to his absence.
However, the absence was explained to the court during his appearance on Friday, and the case was postponed to next month.
On Friday evening, Sisulu confirmed his appearance at the court and the claims laid against him by the mother of his child.
“I can confirm that indeed she came to my house for a meeting last Thursday morning. We could not reach an agreement and this clearly upset her. I deny the allegations of any kind of assault and am baffled as to how our disagreement on a maintenance issue suddenly turned into an assault claim,” he said.
“My family has since insisted on mediation on this maintenance difference and as we both clearly care a lot about the best interest of our child we have agreed that we shall take this up,” Sisulu said.
Manana was granted bail of R5 000 on Thursday, with his case also postponed to next month. The deputy minister is accused of attacking Mandisa Duma in the early hours of Sunday morning after an argument at the Cubana restaurant in Fourways. It is alleged Manana flew into a rage when Duma called him “gay”, with video footage of the assault showing a vicious altercation.
The attack led to significant public outcry, and on Thursday, Police Minister Fikile Mbalula denied reports that Manana had received special treatment, as it was four days after the alleged assault that he was warned to hand himself in.
“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,” Mbalula said.
He said he was disappointed with his colleague. “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.”
Another case of abuse went viral on social media this week with the KwaZulu-Natal Basic Education Department trying to get to the bottom of a brutal assault of a schoolgirl that had been captured on video.
The brief clip shows a young man, presumed to be a pupil at the school, kicking and hitting a young woman, sending her to the floor. He then continues with a barrage of kicks to the pupil’s head and neck as he shouts at her. The Education Department called on the public to help identify the school.