Manana is a dis­grace

The Star Early Edition - - WORLD -

TO­MOR­ROW we cel­e­brate the 61st an­niver­sary of the women’s march to Pre­to­ria when 20 000 women walked to the Union Build­ings in protest against the passes that black South Africans were forced by law to carry to jus­tify liv­ing in the land of their birth.

They went right to the door of the seat of power in a bid to tell the then prime min­is­ter JG Stri­j­dom that a woman’s place was not in the kitchen, tend­ing to her fam­ily and wait­ing upon her hus­band hand and foot, but right there in the front line of the Strug­gle against apartheid. Stri­j­dom was left in no doubt:

(You strike a woman, you strike a rock), they sang as they marched.

Sadly, 23 years into our lib­er­a­tion, it is a mes­sage we hope the Deputy Min­is­ter of Ed­u­ca­tion Mduduzi Manana will have burnt into his sub­con­scious this week – or any other “man”, who thinks it’s okay to strike a woman or a girl, ir­re­spec­tive of their age or ap­par­ent provo­ca­tion.

Manana slapped a woman sev­eral times at a Joburg night­club in the early hours of Sun­day. Her crime? By his own ad­mis­sion, she ques­tioned his sex­u­al­ity. So he beat her.

Yes­ter­day, he is­sued a half-hearted apol­ogy to the na­tion, fol­low­ing a tsunami of out­rage.

We would ex­pect our po­lit­i­cal lead­ers to have tougher skins, far greater self-con­trol ir­re­spec­tive of the provo­ca­tion – es­pe­cially some­thing as ir­rel­e­vant as sex­ual ori­en­ta­tion in a coun­try in which be­ing gay is not just en­shrined as a con­sti­tu­tional right, there is no im­ped­i­ment to gay mar­riage ei­ther.

We shouldn’t need spe­cial days of No Vi­o­lence Against Women and Chil­dren for men to know not to beat them or treat them as sec­ond-class cit­i­zens – their hu­man rights are the rights of any other hu­man be­ing.

There’s only one ques­tion re­ally, just what is the ANC go­ing to do? We shouldn’t even have to ask. Manana should have been sus­pended im­me­di­ately.

Then he needs to be charged, tried, con­victed – and fired. We don’t need “men” like this in our coun­try. And we don’t ac­cept his apol­ogy ei­ther.

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