All talk, no ac­tion

The Star Early Edition - - NEWS -

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.

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