Police Minister Fikile Mbalula addressed the media this afternoon regarding the assault allegations against the deputy minister of higher education, Mduduzi Manana.
The minister said the matter was reported to him on Twitter and he said he followed up immediately.
The incident happened at the Cubana nightclub in Johannesburg on Sunday.
“Citizens have rightfully demanded that this case be treated as serious and urgent due to the identity of the perpetrator. I agree,” said the police minister.
Mbalula said it was not his aim to protect the deputy minister but instead he wanted to explain the natural processes of justice.
His comments come after recurring concerns that Manana was receiving preferential treatment.
One of the concerns was that Manana was not arrested immediately.
“Arrests must be made procedurally. We lose a lot of money in civil claims when we arrest without proper due diligence,” said Mbalula.
As part of its Women’s Day comments, the Economic Freedom Fighters alluded to the protection of Manana.
“A perfect example of patriarchal protection, particularly for those in power, is that to this day Deputy Minister of Higher Education Mduduzi Manana who admittedly assaulted a woman has not been arrested,” said the EFF.
“Arrest is not a form of punishment,” the minister added.
“The deputy minister is a known individual; he cannot hide from the law. He’s not a flight risk and as police we cannot mete out punishment but secure suspects for court processes,” Mbalula said while he continued to list the reasons for Manana not being arrested.
Mbalula said Manana handed himself over to the police this morning “following his constant cooperation”.
Manana appeared at the Randburg Magistrates’ Court in Johannesburg on Thursday, facing charges of two counts of assault to cause gross bodily harm.
Mbalula said the court appearance took time because of “witness statements that had to be obtained and a docket that had to meet the good standards” to ensure a successful prosecution.
The Democratic Alliance maintained its call for the deputy minister to be fired immediately.
“This assault is a shocking indictment on Manana and he must now face the full might of the law,” said the party’s spokesperson on higher education and training, Hlomela Bucwa.
Manana was released on R5000 bail with the condition that he wasn’t allowed to contact witnesses or family members of the victims directly or indirectly.
Mbalula said the case was between Manana versus the state, which is representing the victim.
“Your state fully supports the victim and acts only on behalf of the victim,” said Mbalula. “Nonetheless, everybody is presumed innocent until proven otherwise.”