Cape Town – The DA on Sunday said it would report Higher Education deputy minister Mduduzi Manana to the Commission for Gender Equality following allegations of mistreatment by female staff members in his department.
The party also planned to ask that recommendations be made to Parliament as well as to the Human Rights Commission on “appropriate further steps”.
“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 on Sunday.
“This treatment is nothing less than blatant and sexist abuse and it is untenable that a person in his position gets away with allegedly treating his employees in this manner.”
The Sunday Times this week reported on the allegations, including that Manana’s ex-head of office Wonga Tabata lodged a complaint against him in 2012, claiming that the deputy minister abused his power.
According to the newspaper, Tabata’s grievance follows a phone call in which the deputy minister accused him of “being part of a political grouping that did not want him to succeed as deputy minister” before verbally attacking him the following day accusing him of “dirty political games”.
It also reported that former members of Manana’s staff claimed his “temper tantrums, blackmail and blatant abuse stretch back at least five years”, including claims from a former secretary who told the newspaper that the deputy minister would phone her in the early hours of the morning, cursing her and threatening her job and would also throw his diary and cellphone at her.
“It has become increasingly clear that Mr Manana is a menace who has no respect for women and treats them as inferior human beings. This was unequivocally highlighted in his assault of women in a nightclub last weekend,” Bucwa said.
She slammed ANC Women’s League president Bathabile Dlamini’s, defence of Manana as reported in the Sunday Times, in which she reportedly said “there are those [in government] that are actually worse than him”.
The statement, Bucwa said, was “shameful”, and called for the minister of social development to apologise.
“Furthermore, she should come forward and report the ‘others’ who are serial abusers. It is her legal duty to do so,” she argued.
“Especially in a country like South Africa, where violence against women has reached pandemic proportions, it is utterly unacceptable for any woman – even more so the president of the ANC Women’s League – to make excuses for this kind of behaviour.
“What message does it send out to women and young girls across the country? That this behaviour by a public representative should be ignored and left unpunished because there are ‘others’ who are also guilty?”