President Jacob Zuma on Monday expressed his concern over the allegations of assault on a woman levelled against deputy minister of higher education and training Mduduzi Manana.
In a statement, the president said he had learned “with great concern and is disturbed by the allegations of assault on a woman patron at a nightclub in Johannesburg reportedly by The Deputy Minister of Higher Education and Training, Mr Mduduzi Manana”.
According to the statement by the presidency, Police Minister Fikile Mbalula had indicated that a case had been opened with the South African Police Service.
“President Zuma has confidence that the law enforcement agencies will deal with the matter effectively in line with the laws of the land,” the statement said.
Zuma added: “The South African Government has made violence against women a priority crime. Women have a right to safety and security and must not be attacked or abused by anyone, anywhere in the country, regardless of the position of the either the perpetrator or victim. South Africa must be safe for all women.”
Zuma urged all with information on the matter to cooperate with the authorities.
Manana earlier Monday issued an apology to the woman he allegedly assaulted at a nightclub in Johannesburg.
Manana said in a statement that he was “extremely provoked”, but would subject himself to the law. “I wish to apologise unreservedly to Ms Mandisa Duma, her family, the government of South Africa and all South Africans, and women in particular, for the incident that happened at Cubana in Fourways over the weekend.
“Regardless of the extreme provocation, I should have exercised restraint. That shameful incident should not have happened. I know that my actions and those of the people in my company have disappointed and hurt many people in the country. As a leader, I should have known better and acted better. I will subject myself fully to the process of the law and give it my full cooperation.”
He added that several fake social media accounts had been opened in his name “showing less remorse to the victim and intended to further tarnish my name”.
“I also commit myself to, when the time is right, further engage with Ms Duma and her family to apologise, take responsibility and address the harm that has occurred. I will also meet with my organisation, the ANC, and President Zuma to give a full account of the incident.”
The incident reportedly happened early Sunday morning following a heated argument about the African National Congress’ (ANC) succession debate. The woman allegedly called Manana gay before the alleged assault ensued. The assault reportedly continued outside in a parking lot. Duma said she reported the assault at the Douglasdale police station. Photographs showing bruises on her head, neck and leg were posted on social media on Sunday night.