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Mduduzi Manana's Nightclub Assault Shows How Our Government Continues To Fail Women

He hasn't he been arrested?

07/08/2017 15:19 SAST | Updated 08/08/2017 15:55 SAST
Trevor Samson/ Business Day/ Gallo Images
Western Cape Judge President John Hlophe administers the oath of office to deputy minister of higher education Mduduzi Manana.

Deputy minister of higher education and training, Mduduzi Manana, has admitted to slapping Mandisa Duma over the weekend, at a club in Fourways in Johannesburg. It was alleged that Manana had not only slapped Duma and her companions but that he and his friends had followed the women to the parking lot and assaulted them.

In this recording, Manana admits that the incident took place. However, he denies responsibility for what happened. In the clip he says: "Mfowethu, uma engithuka athi ngiyiStabane, ngimshayile ngeMpama [My brother, when she swore at me and said I am gay, I slapped her.]"

Read: Mduduzi Manana Has Apologised For Assaulting A Woman And Thinks That's Good Enough

The fact that he raised a hand at a woman is in itself assault. He physically attacked a woman, he says as much himself. Why are his colleagues not taking him to task on this? Why are we debating whether he followed the women outside or not, and how much of the assaulting he did?

Assault of any kind is wrong, why has the minister not been arrested? An excerpt from the ANC's statement reads:

The African National Congress calls upon our law enforcement agencies to act without fear or favour 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.

Why then has there been no action against Manana and his companions? If indeed bringing perpetrators to book is a top priority for the ruling party, why has this Minister not been suspended? How many children and women have must be abused, raped and murdered for our government to stop failing women and take swift action?

This blatant lack of accountability within the structures of governance needs to stop. Even if it was not Women's Month -- violence against women cannot and should not be justified. If, as the ANC says, the law should be enforced without fear or favour, then Manana must resign and face charges of assault.

These are not simply crimes. They are symptoms of a violent war on the bodies of women and the inefficiency that has been showcased by the ANCWL in their statement is disgraceful.

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. 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 foward to assist law enforcement agencies in resolving the matter.

Condemning this kind of behaviour is simply not enough. We need less lip service and more accountability.

An apology alone will also not suffice, apologising does not make it OK.

Our government continues to fail women and sadly it seems as if they have no intention of affirming the rights of women to safety, freedom, justice and equality. Violence against women and children will never be OK. Ever.