Johannesburg - The furore over a fundraising event for gender-based violence (GBV) with self-confessed woman-beater Mduduzi Manana as a keynote speaker has not subsided, despite the former ANC MP distancing himself from it.

The organisers of the gala evening have since gone to ground, following harsh criticism for including Manana.

Although the former higher education and training deputy minister denied he will be speaking at the event, scores of social media users were enraged that an advert suggests Manana as a contributor on women's issues.

Manana was advertised as one of the speakers of the gala dinner, themed “Legends united against gender-based violence”.

The event is set to take place on Saturday and ticket prices range between R1000 and R5000.

Monday’s backlash follows the one that erupted last week when Manana posted a video online expressing his support for the nationwide #TotalShutdown marches against GBV.

This was in reaction to the former deputy minister’s guilty plea and conviction last September on three counts of assault with intent to do grievous bodily harm, after he brutally assaulted three women at a Fourways nightclub.

Rosie Motene, a renowned South African actress and TV presenter, led the charge on criticising the Shevolution Africa movement for including Manana on its gala programme, drawing parallels with convicted rapist Sipho “Brickz” Ndlovu’s involvement in a music industry awards show last Friday.

Motene called Brickz’s performance and Manana’s invitation a “double insult to all survivors”, sarcastically referring to them as a “great start to Women’s Month”.

But Manana on Monday denied being a speaker or even knowing about the event.

“I am not speaking at the event; I was not informed or invited. I know nothing about it,” he said.

Probed further on whether he would accept or reject an invitation to speak against woman abuse, Manana remained adamant that he knew nothing of the gathering, and would not comment.

Meanwhile, Dineo Mancotywa of Shevolution said in a statement that although the organisation noted the outrage sparked by the invitation, she defended the decision by saying the movement wanted to have “a multiplicity of voices represented by victims themselves”, including woman abusers.

Mancotywa stressed that Manana would not be a speaker on Saturday, but rather a panellist.

“He will face some tough questions from people who have felt directly the pain of GBV instead of him giving a speech without any dissenting voices responding,” she pointed out.

The Star