JOHANNESBURG, 7th AUGUST 2017 – The Treatment Action Campaign (TAC) is shocked and outraged to learn of Deputy Minister of Higher Education Mduduzi Manana assaulting a woman over the weekend. TAC condemns the actions of Manana and calls on law enforcement authorities to appropriately and quickly address this matter.
The incident happened in the early hours of Sunday morning outside a nightclub. Media reports indicate that Manana had a heated political debate with two women regarding the ANC’s elective conference, after which he lashed out and struck one of the women. Manana has publicly admitted to the assault.
He stated publicly: “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 co-operation.”
This violence comes just days into Women’s month, a month that remains as relevant as ever in the face of these actions. We recognise that the problem of violence against women in our society is complex, deeply entrenched and has no quick solutions. But that is no excuse for inaction.
As political Head of HEAIDS, Manana is also currently involved in leading the She Conquers campaign. She Conquers is a campaign that claims to empower young women and girls in our society. In particular, it claims to provide knowledge and support that allows young women and girls to best protect themselves against HIV, STIs and unwanted pregnancies. It is deplorable that a man who has publicly admitted to assaulting a woman, and who has previously suppressed the voice of young women at the HEAIDS Conference, can lead a woman’s empowerment programme – he must immediately be removed.
TAC calls for Manana to be immediately fired as Deputy Minister in the Department of Higher Education. We call on Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa to remove him as political Head of HEAIDS and as a person involved in She Conquers. Further, we call on SANAC leadership including the Deputy President, Minister Motsoaledi, SANAC Co-Chair Steve Letsike and Dr Ramneek Ahluwalia to publicly distance themselves from Manana – and to commit to ensuring progressive leadership, lead by those they seek to represent, that guarantee equality and respect for all.
For comment please contact Anele Yawa on 079 328 1215