President Cyril Ramaphosa said the most recent affirmations against ANC MP and NEC member, Mduduzi Manana, “have not been made known” to him.
On Tuesday, Ramaphosa was answering questions in the National Assembly when IFP MP Liezl van der Merwe put it to him that the government was not doing enough to fight gender-based violence.
Van der Merwe asked if the president thought Manana was still suitable to be an MP after allegations emerged that he had assaulted his domestic worker.
Last year in September, News24 reported that Manana was convicted of three counts of assault with intent to do grievous bodily harm after he pleaded guilty to the charges.
The charges related to the assault of three women at Cubana in Fourways on August 6, 2017, which was filmed and went viral on social media, sparking a national outcry for his arrest.
In the latest incident, it is alleged that Manana shoved his 53-year-old domestic worker down the stairs over the weekend. Charges were initially laid, but were later withdrawn.
Manana said on Monday that he intended laying a complaint against the domestic worker for allegedly trying to extort R100 000 from him.
“The new allegations levelled against me are both unfortunate and malicious,” he said in a statement.
TimesLive reported on Tuesday that a recording emerged in which Manana allegedly offered his domestic worker R100 000 to drop the charges.
On Tuesday, Ramaphosa agreed with Van der Merwe that more needed to be done to stop gender-based violence. He said the justice system needed to be more responsive.
Ramaphosa also said that the government was going to commit more resources to combat gender-based violence.
“This is an area of focus we need to shine a light on.”
Referring to the latest allegations against Manana, Ramaphosa said “the issues have not been made known to me”.
He was jeered from the opposition benches.
“Even he, Mduduzi Manana, needs to go through his own party’s system,” Ramaphosa said.
“I think it is best to leave it there, because that is where the real evidence will emerge.”
Manana couldn’t be seen from the press gallery in the ANC’s backbenches, which he now occupies after resigning as deputy minister of higher education and training last year.
While Ramaphosa spoke, DA MP Terri Stander shouted several times: “Fire Manana!”
Earlier on Tuesday, she said in a statement that police must investigate the claims of assault.
“The suggestion that the SAPS will no longer investigate the claim because the complainant has ‘withdrawn’ it, is both disingenuous and contrary to the law,” she said.
“The SAPS must ensure that the claims against Manana are thoroughly investigated and that he be charged if found to have acted unlawfully.”
She added that the police should also investigate reports that the domestic worker had been threatened, intimidated and was subsequently offered R100 000 to withdraw the complaint.
“The DA will add these fresh allegations against Manana to our complaint to Parliament’s Ethics Committee,” Stander said.
“Manana, a person of wealth and influence, previously avoided serving 12 months in jail by paying a R100 000 fine after being convicted of three counts of assault with intent to do grievous bodily harm in September 2017. He should not be allowed to escape the consequences of his alleged actions through coercion or bribery.”
Stander said Manana did not belong in Parliament where he earned a salary paid by taxpayers. The fact that he continued to serve as an MP proved that the ANC was not committed to building a non-sexist society and to ending the scourge of violence against women.
The ANC Women’s League said in a statement that it noted the withdrawal of the charges against Manana.
“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. ANCWL acknowledges that there are various reasons for victims of gender-based violence to withdraw cases, however that practice defeats the goal of eliminating gender-based violence in the country,” ANCWL secretary general Meokgo Matuba said in the statement.
The league called on all members of society to unite and provide support to the victims of gender-based violence.
“Withdrawal of cases of gender-based violence has a potential to delegitimise the fight against [the] abuse of women.
“The ANCWL condemns violence against women and encourages all victims to report cases to law enforcement agencies and allow the law to take its course.”