Durban – The ANC in KwaZulu-Natal and the Free State have fallen short of calling out Deputy Minister of Higher Education Mduduzi Manana for assaulting a woman, despite issuing a strong statement for harsh punishment against women abusers. Leadership from both provinces spoke at a joint press briefing at the Coastlands Hotel in Umhlanga on Monday. The provincial working committee (PWC) for both provinces met to discuss “various issues”.Reading out a press statement, ANC provincial chairperson Sihle Zikalala initially said the PWCs were concerned about the increase in the incidence of violence against women.“The PWC calls on the ANC structures and government to deal harshly with all acts of violence against women. The PWCs agreed that non-sexism is a political and ideological programme of the movement. Zikalala said the PWCs believe all issues of patriarchy and sexism should be are flushed out of society.However, when asked on the debacle surrounding Manana, they were more reserved with their response. ANC Free State chairperson Ace Magashule responded to the question saying, “We are not focusing on one person, but society. These issues happen on a daily basis. We are saying there must be action - harsh action against those people.”Free State and KZN ANC leadership right now @News24 pic.twitter.com/T8awjoLCuO— Kaveel Singh (@kaveels) August 14, 2017Manana is accused of assaulting a woman at the Cubana nightclub in Johannesburg, for which he later apologised, describing it as a "shameful incident" that occurred as a result of "extreme provocation".A video of the incident was widely circulated on social media, showing Manana slapping a woman, who covers her head with her hands to try and stop the blow.Manana was last week granted R5 000 bail.In a statement prior to his appearance, he apologised for the incident.The DA on Sunday said it would report Manana to the Commission for Gender Equality following allegations of mistreatment by female staff members in his department. "Allegations include swearing at his former secretary, making her sit outside his apartment in winter in Cape Town from midnight to 2am as 'punishment' and forcing employees to clean and cook for him," DA Portfolio Committee member on Higher Education and Training Hlomela Bucwa said in a statement.The party said it also planned to ask that recommendations be made to Parliament as well as to the Human Rights Commission on "appropriate further steps".