It is unclear whether Deputy Higher Education Minister Mduduzi Manana, who admitted to assaulting a woman at a Fourways nightclub last weekend, will face any action against him from his department.
The department of higher education and training (DHET) did not answer questions on whether a disciplinary process was in order.
But it issued a statement yesterday distancing itself from the incident in which the deputy minister allegedly beat and slapped a woman for calling him gay.
He faces an assault charge. The incident sparked outrage among ANC structures, including the ANC Women’s League.
“While the matter may not be directly related to DHET business, the department recognises the significance of these reports, particularly in the context of Women’s Month and the national call for the validation for gender equality and the rights of women in a non-violent society.”
Manana has since penned an apology directed at the victim, Mandisa Duma, “her family, the government of South Africa and all South Africans, and women in particular”.
In it, he hints at making a defence, suggesting he was provoked into assaulting Duma.
“Regardless of the extreme provocation, I should have exercised restraint. That shameful incident should not have happened.”
The department said it was cooperating with the investigation into the matter.
“The relevant authorities are already looking into the matter and it is appropriate that they be allowed to do their work unhindered,” it said.
The ANC added its voice to the outrage, saying: “Such behaviour is unacceptable and should be roundly condemned by all in our society.”
Lawyers for Human Rights (LHR) yesterday called for Manana to resign, decrying the normalisation of gender violence.
“For a deputy minister to physically assault a woman under any circumstances is nothing short of vile.
“His actions show us just how normalised violence against women has become in SA society and just how little we have come to expect from our leaders in their standard of conduct.
“We, as LHR, categorically condemn Manana’s actions. We reject the normalisation of violence and we expect the highest standards of moral and ethical probity and example from every one of our leaders.
“For this reason, we are calling for Manana to immediately resign from his leadership position, as a man of this aggressive character is clearly unfit to lead.” – email@example.com