Move beyond rhetoric
Justice must be seen to be done, regardless of what one’s position is. This is the only way we can have complete confidence that the rule of law knows no colour or what position one holds in society.
This chance presented itself to President Jacob Zuma, the governing ANC and Higher Education Deputy Minister Mduduzi Manana this week.
Instead of the rhetoric and attempt to apologise for beating up a woman, Manana should have shown leadership and stepped down, which would have shown that he took his party and government’s policies on women abuse seriously.
Instead, Manana told the country that “regardless of the extreme provocation, I should have exercised restraint. That shameful incident should not have happened.”
The extreme provocation, by the way, was the victim “insulting” him by calling him gay. This in constitutional South Africa in 2017.
He went on: “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.”
The last bit should have read: “As a leader, I have decided to step down from all positions in government and the ANC so that I can deal with this matter accordingly.” That’s leadership.
Then the ANC’s Zizi Kodwa came and said “such behaviour is unacceptable and should be roundly condemned by all”. He should have added that Manana had since been recalled by the party.
The ANC Women’s League said it had “noted the disturbing reports”. Really? Only noted?
Besides the shock, Zuma blabbered on about violence against women being a priority crime, and that women have a right to safety, security and to be safe from abuse.
In a country where cases of women abuse are so rife and get worse daily, was this the best our leaders could come up with? Rhetoric and more rhetoric, but no action.
As you read this, Manana still has his job, and his party’s integrity commission will conduct its own investigation – despite the fact that he admitted the assault and sent out a public apology.
This lame response is as disgraceful as Manana’s action itself.