Cape Town - The ANCWL has lashed out at a report that its president Bathabile Dlamini said there were worse culprits in government than Higher Education Deputy Minister Mduduzi Manana when it came to allegations of abusing women. "The [African National Congress Women's League] is much aware that the false reporting by some neoliberal media houses will intensify as the ANC approaches its national elective conference," said the league's secretary general Meokgo Matuba on Sunday. She accused "some neoliberal media houses" of being "active participants" in the lobbying ahead of the ANC's elective conference in December. "They would like to see their preferred candidate to emerge at all costs."Also read: 'Instant' action must be taken against women abusers - DlaminiThis was after the Sunday Times reported that Dlamini would not call for Manana's removal from government as the assault allegations against him were being used as a political tool. Manana appeared in the Randburg Magistrate's Court on Thursday on charges of assaulting a woman at the Cubana nightclub in Fourways. He has apologised for the incident, but questions have been raised over why he was not suspended from his job. In the interview with the Sunday Times, Dlamini reportedly said "action must be taken against other leaders first” as there were others in senior government positions “actually worse than him". In an attack on the reporter, Sibongakonke Shoba, Matuba said: "It is unfortunate that journalists like Sibongakonke are consciously or unconsciously co-opted by their masters to tarnish the image of individuals or structures that support any candidate different from the ones preferred by the neo-liberal media houses."The ANCWL accused the publication of giving the impression that Manana was being protected by them, and to cause divisions."The ANCWL stands by its statement released on the 7th of August 2017 condemning Deputy Minister Manana and his friends and calling for all perpetrators to face the might of the law."The league believes any leader or member of the ANC involved in abuse of women must be disciplined. The Democratic Alliance has already indicated that it would complain to the Commission for Gender Equality about Manana after the same publication reported that he allegedly mistreated female staff.