Mduduzi Manana a 'spoilt brat'

2018-05-13 00:07
Mduduzi Manana. Picture: Lerato Maduna

Mduduzi Manana. Picture: Lerato Maduna

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Those who have known ANC MP Mduduzi Manana since he was young describe him in two words: spoilt brat.

Manana is an angry man, they say, and is wont to mercilessly tongue-lash his workers in front of guests.

He undoubtedly grew up rich and can splurge his money on booze with friends and, they say, pay those who extol his virtues and character on Facebook.

Manana is allegedly so acidulous that some of his close friends – whom he hired when he became deputy minister of higher education and training in then president Jacob Zuma’s administration – left their jobs in a huff because they could no longer stand him.

It was predictable, perhaps, that this week, another scandal regarding Manana’s treatment of his staff came to light. His domestic worker Christine Wiro laid a police complaint against him for allegedly trying to push her down the stairs of his home in the up-market Johannesburg suburb of Fourways.

Then an audio recording surfaced in which he is heard allegedly offering her R100 000 to drop the case, only to lay a counter complaint against her for – so he claims – attempting to extort the money from him.

Manana grew up in Ermelo where his mother, Sibongile, also an MP and a former MEC in Mpumalanga’s provincial government, hails from. They both still own property in the town and the young Manana is a regular visitor there.

“He made money at a young age, and we think that because his mother has been a politician, resources were being shifted to him,” said a friend of his who lives in Wesselton, Ermelo.

The man said that soon after Manana returned from Baghdad, where he acted as a human shield during the US’s war against Iraq in 2003, he changed his Volkswagen Polo for a BMW Z3. He was 19 at the time and, according to the friend, even at that age could host lavish parties.

“That man is very angry. It’s his character,” the friend said. “I used to visit him around 2012, whenever he was in Ermelo, and the way he shouted at the domestic worker, telling her how she would be nothing if he had not employed her, would make us cringe with embarrassment,” he said.

“He’d been a snob when growing up because his mother was in power. Now we know that if you write something about him on Facebook – to show support for him – when you meet him it’s pay day.”

Another of Manana’s friends, now estranged from him, said that as Sibongile’s only child, he grew up spoilt. Manana is his mother’s surname. His father is believed to be from Bushbuckridge. He is said to have no relationship with his paternal relatives.

“I think it is his upbringing that makes him like this and he is used to solving his problems with money. We’re not shocked here in Ermelo when we hear these stories,” he said.

Assault

The first many heard of Manana’s dim view of women was his assault, in the Cubana nightclub at Cedar Square in Fourways, of Mandisa Duma after a heated debate on the ANC succession race. When she passed a remark about his sexuality, he slapped her in the face and pulled out her hair.

But it wasn’t the first time. In a previous incident, City Press reported that he and an elderly Ermelo neighbour filed complaints against each other after she allegedly called him a “k*****”. She had complained about a noisy party he was hosting and he allegedly assaulted her.

He also reportedly assaulted Zinhle Mokhohlane (22) and her aunt in a parking lot in Ermelo, after which they laid charges. Manana didn’t comment.

After a video of his attack on Duma came to light, Manana offered the nation his “unreserved apology”. “Regardless of the extreme provocation, I should have exercised restraint,” he said in a statement.

“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 cooperation.”

He pleaded guilty in the Randburg Magistrates’ Court and was sentenced to a R100 000 fine and 500 hours of community service. He lost his deputy ministership.

In the aftermath, Manana’s political allies and friends devised a plan to rehabilitate his image, deal with his issues with women and his public relations problems. Their intention was to have him assume another ministerial position in the next two years. But seven months later, his remorse has been shown to be fleeting.

In an audio recording City Press obtained, Wiro (43) speaks to a family friend, who also witnessed Manana’s alleged cash offer to her to drop the case, about the sort of boss he was.

He never greeted in the morning, not even a slight acknowledgment she was there. This, she said, led her to realise she was working for a “harsh man”. She claimed he made her work until late at night and she could only go to bed when he allowed her to, only to start work at 6.30am the next day.

If Wiro wanted any sort of acknowledgment of her existence from Manana, she’d have to be the first to greet and, even then, that didn’t guarantee a response.

“Sometimes he just goes, without saying good morning, but he can see you, that you’re inside the house,” she lamented.

One day Wiro didn’t cook supper and all hell broke loose. He was furious and called the woman who recruited Wiro for him, allegedly saying: “Umntu wakho akaphekanga ucabanga ukuthi ngizodla ukutya kwa izolo ndisebenza.”

Wiro heard what he said; the tone he used when he spoke the words. “Umntu wakho,” really hurt her.

In the two short weeks she worked for him, she wanted to quit many times, even before he allegedly threatened to push her down his stairs and have her deported to Zimbabwe.

But she needed her R4 000 salary.

“I did work for other guys for nine years. They didn’t shout at me. But when I got here, yoh! I’m not happy. If you want to eat food inside someone’s house and they start shouting, how do you even continue eating? You just get full, you’re not going to get hungry anymore,” she said.

Wiro said she prayed to God, asking why she had to endure such treatment.

“Why mara? What did I do to come to this mess? Because I’m poor? I’m working for rich people who treat people like this?”

Manana allegedly scolded Wiro about an issue with the front gate’s remote, barraging her with demands about why she left it in a position that could damage his car.

“He asked me what my ‘sorry’ would help. Would I be able to buy his car? Do you have the money?” she recalled him asking.

One Friday evening, Wiro stayed up until 10.40pm, waiting for Manana to dismiss her so she could sleep. Worried sick that she would not be able to afford to pay for any damage to his car should she make any further mistakes, she decided she had to leave. When she told him she was leaving, he followed her and allegedly tried to push her down the stairs.

“After he pushed me I said, ‘oh, this guy is too harsh’. I ran to where I was sleeping and packed my bags like a mad person. He locked his doors and said if I want to go I must go. I know the way to go.”

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Read more on:    anc  |  mduduzi manana

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