Political parties‚ including the ANC‚ have condemned the alleged assault of a woman by Deputy Minister of Higher Education Mduduzi Manana and his friends in a restaurant on Sunday morning.
The incident comes as the governing party faces an onslaught over President Jacob Zuma’s rule and apparently followed a spat over the president’s successor.
Manana is accused of assaulting a woman at a Cubana restaurant in Fourways‚ Johannesburg‚ around 3am on Sunday.
The incident allegedly occurred after a debate over the ANC’s succession race.
Women’s minister Susan Shabangu said it was regrettable that this act of violence was perpetrated only a week into Women’s Month.
She said the incident happened at a time when the country was tirelessly working to address the high rates of femicide and other brutal acts of violence against women.
The Democratic Alliance said Manana must immediately apologise and then resign from his post.
“He is clearly unsuited to hold it‚” the DA said in a statement.
The party said it would report Manana to the Public Protector for breaching the executive ethics code‚ which requires that members of parliament must “act in all respects in a manner that is consistent with the integrity of their office or the government”.
The Economic Freedom Fighters called on Manana to hand himself over to the police and name all other suspects involved in the assault.
The ANC said Manana’s behaviour was unacceptable and should be roundly condemned by all.
It said regardless of the circumstances or the identity of the perpetrator or victim‚ violence against women was the “shame of our times”.
The ANC called on law enforcement agencies to act without fear to bring the perpetrators to book.
The ANC Women’s League said it condemned violence against women and said perpetrators should face the full might of the law. It urged all witnesses to come forward to assist law enforcement agencies in resolving the matter.
The Congress of the People (Cope) called on President Jacob Zuma to immediately fire Manana to show that he was serious about fighting the scourge of violence and abuse against women.
Cope national chairman Pakes Dikgetsi said if the police were serious about solving gender-based violence and abuse‚ Manana must be arrested immediately and taken to court.
The Pan Africanist Congress called on Zuma to dismiss Manana.
“The problem in this country is that those with political and economic advantages are left to get away with murder‚” the PAC said.
Police Minister Fikile Mbalula has been criticised for being too soft on Mbalula after he tweeted that the “law must take its course”. But it is still unclear whether an arrest is imminent.
Manana could not be reached for comment.
Attempts to obtain police comment were unsuccessful.
Manana is accused of attacking his victim after a debate on who should succeed President Jacob Zuma when the ANC chooses its next leader in December.
Mandisa Duma‚ who was with her friend and cousin at the Cubana restaurant‚ claimed that she was with Manana and his four friends when Manana chased them out of the venue.
Duma claimed that while walking out Manana slapped her cousin across the face after she made a comment about his sexuality.
An eye witness identified Manana in a video clip that emerged on social media‚ purporting to show the attack.