All talk, no action
THOUSANDS of women across the country yesterday celebrated Women’s Day. This was a moment for women to assert their independence and celebrate the strides that have been made in pursuit of an equal society.
However, women have nothing to celebrate when men in positions of power continue to brutalise and victimise them in public spaces with very little or no consequences.
Deputy Higher Education Minister Mduduzi Manana is still a free man, four days after he allegedly assaulting three women at the Cubana Café in Fourways, Sandton, on Sunday.
Manana and his hangers-on allegedly assaulted Mandisa Duma, her cousin and a friend after one of them called him gay.
Since the beginning of August, which has been dubbed Women’s Month, politicians including President Jacob Zuma have been speaking about violence against women and children.
Every platform they get, politicians have demonstrated their commitment to the empowerment of women and called for the arrest of those who abuse them.
However, when it comes to Manana, society is expected to accept his apology and move on.
People have been calling for the suspension and arrest of the deputy minister, but no one is willing to bring him to book.
By sticking around and failing to take responsibility for his actions, Manana is not doing anything new. There is no culture of taking responsibility among the country’s ruling elite.
All the women empowerment speeches made yesterday and throughout the month of August will remain hollow unless Manana is dealt with.
NPA spokesperson Vuyo Mhaga keeps shifting the goal posts when asked about the pending arrest of the deputy minister.
Mhaga’s initial response was that the assault case against Manana had been handed to the NPA after the police had wrapped up their investigations. Yesterday, he changed his tune, saying they were still waiting for the police to finish their probe.
It is clear that these are delaying tactics aimed at making sure that Manana is not dealt with.
If the government is serious about fighting the scourge of women abuse, Zuma must do the right thing and suspend Manana.
We don’t accept this half-hearted apology. Manana should be suspended, charged, tried, convicted and fired.