Cape Times

Little chance to end abuse


SOUTH Africa, sadly, still ranks high among the world’s most violent countries. This is exacerbate­d by widespread lawlessnes­s and by our attitudes towards the law. Minor offences such as court orders and traffic fines are summarily ignored.

Recent events of high-profile people finding themselves on the wrong side of the law are indicative of the sad reality that any attempts to change attitudes towards the rule of law are being stymied by the very people responsibl­e for making and enforcing it. The number of cases of battery and killing of women and children by those who should protect them remains high. This is evidenced by the spike in vicious attacks and killings of women, showing femicidal violence is endemic.

This is made worse when those holding political office, who should be setting a good example, seem themselves to be perpetrato­rs.

Unless prominent figures stop breaking the law with impunity and start leading by example, we have little chance of reducing violence against women and children. Last week, the nation was left reeling after a young woman was allegedly assaulted by Deputy Higher Education Minister Mduduzi Manana.

On the same day the self-confessed woman batterer appeared in court, another ANC activist, radio and TV personalit­y Shaka Sisulu, appeared in the same courthouse facing similar accusation­s. Sisulu has denied them.

If he is pronounced guilty, it will be a setback in the fight to eradicate violence on women given he is a prominent member of the governing party.

The Manana saga is a different one altogether. Unlike Sisulu, who does not hold public office, Manana has confessed and apologised. But his apology does not go far enough, considerin­g he is a public representa­tive and legislator whose salary is paid by taxpayers.

In any true democracy a public office bearer finding himself in Manana’s shoes would have quit in shame.

That Manana, who has admitted to breaking the same laws passed by the same Parliament he serves, is still occupying his post is scandalous. President Jacob Zuma, who has himself for years been accused of improper conduct, should redeem himself and fire him.

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