Manana wasn’t fooling anyone
The impeccably dressed former deputy minister was in confident form after pleading guilty to the assault charges.
Deputy Minister of Higher Education Mduduzi Manana leaves the Randburg Magistrates Court with friends and his security detail after his bail hearing in 10 August 2017 in Johannesburg. The Minister handed himself in to police after allegedly assaulting a woman at Cubana nightclub last week. Picture: Yeshiel Panchia
The power of forgiveness and reconciliation should not be underestimated in our fractious country.
They formed the roadmap that people like Madiba laid out to help us heal the grievous wounds of the past.
But we cannot help feeling that the near-circus at the Randburg Magistrate’s Court this week – when former deputy minister Mduduzi Manana went to trial for assaulting a woman – made a bit of a mockery of genuine contrition.
The impeccably dressed former deputy minister was in confident form after pleading guilty to the assault, which took place outside a nightclub in Fourways last month.
He addressed groups of supporters waiting outside for him as though he was making a political speech. And maybe he was …
The woman beater’s theme, which echoed perfectly the sentiments in the professionally printed placards carried by his supporters, was that he had said sorry and had taken responsibility for his actions.
But the tone of the apology seemed to lack sincerity and, read together with the placards, was that he was some kind of hero for merely doing the right thing.
Remember, even though he never denied the assault, it took a few days for him to hand himself over to police.
And, even after his public admission of guilt and his apology to the victim and her family, it took a long while for the government to remove him from his deputy minister position.
He has been allowed to retain his seat in parliament, which could be an indication that his political aspirations are far from over.
In loudly and almost proudly proclaiming both his virtue and his apologies, Manana was merely echoing the deeply ingrained patriarchy of our society and believing he has a right to be forgiven.
We wonder whether this display does anything for the campaign against abuse of women.