Mduduzi Manana, former Deputy Minister of Higher Education, has a history of violence and assault and he now faces new allegations of assault, crimen injuria and intimidation after his domestic worker accused him of trying to push her down the stairs in his Johannesburg home. Christine Wiro laid the charges after only working for Manana for three weeks, claiming that the violence and abuse started after she had mistakenly opened Manana's gate for the wrong person. He was expecting someone for breakfast and when a car arrived, Wiro assumed that was the correct guest.
Manana allegedly reacted by insulting and pushing her while kicking her out of the house, threatening to deport her back to Zimbabwe. He also forced Wiro to work unreasonable hours starting at 6:30 and only finishing at 22:00. She claims that the verbal abuse began as soon as her second day of employment which pushed her as far as considering quitting the job.
Wiro later withdrew the claim because she was afraid for her life stating that the former deputy minister "has connections everywhere". But, on Monday night, according to TimesLive, Manana reportedly issued a statement via a government media WhatsApp group, denying the woman's version of events, saying that she was capitalising on his previous assault conviction (referring to the assault incident caught on film at Cubana in Fourways in August 2017). Manana retaliated by filing a legal suit against Wiro for extortion, claiming that the family had demanded R100 000 to drop the case but Manana claims he instead paid her for the two weeks period that she worked at his home.
Manana released his version of events claiming that the "altercation" related to how Wiro frequently let people into his home, posing a risk to his security.
He said: "I warned her about a possible security risk that such conduct poses to me and especially to her as she could easily be raped. On May 6‚ 2018‚ I... told her that I was expecting a guest and she should prepare breakfast for two persons. I went back to take a shower and then I heard voices from the kitchen. I stepped out of my bedroom and discovered that my guest had already made herself comfortable at my home. I then confronted Ms. Wiro that she should have verified with me that there was Ms Sithembile Ntuli at the gate before opening for her because I had not told her the name of the guest that I was having breakfast with. Like any other employer‚ it is within my right to reprimand Ms. Wiro if she flouts the rules of the house‚ and she responded by laughing‚ much to my guest's shock. I then asked her if there was anything funny from what I'm saying. She responded and said 'I do not know'. I went on to ask if she still interested in the job. Again‚ she responded and said 'I said I do not know'. I then asked her to leave the house as that was not the correct attitude for any workplace."
"I wish to place on record that, since the case assault which was levelled against me and for which I pleaded guilty‚ there has been desperate attempts to discredit and tarnish my name. This deliberate ploy is to use assault as a permanent stigma attached to me by my detractors whom I believe had a major influence in her opening the case and giving her access to the media community. This despite many corrective measures I have put in place to embrace, empower and push for the emancipation of women in our country. I have stated before that the incident that unfolded at Cubana leading to my guilty plea was unfortunate and sad, to an extent that it cost [me] my job, and therefore I could never have a repeat of it," he said.
However, the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) is refusing to allow the police to drop the charge of assault laid against him saying: “In the instance where a complainant withdraws a case‚ it’s still the responsibility of the SAPS to submit the docket that was opened to the Director of Public Prosecutions for a decision [on whether] to prosecute or not. In this case‚ the docket is back from the director of public prosecutions and police are now investigating further on the instruction of the NPA.”
After further investigation by SAPS, an audio clip was found where Manana was heard offering Wiro R100 000 to drop the charges she had laid. Wiro denied that she had tried to extort money from Manana and reported to the media that Manana had offered her R100 000 and an alternative job after she opened a case at the police station on Sunday night. On Tuesday‚ Wiro and her son, Adonia Langa‚ 23‚ also reported that Manana had arrived at their home in Pretoria after 1am on Monday. “I had not given him my address but he managed to find out where I lived‚ that made me scared and I decided to withdraw the charges for my own safety‚” she said. “Now that this guy knew where I am staying‚ I thought‚ ‘let me just go drop the charges’.”
The ANC is putting pressure on Manana to resign from his position as MP after the new assault charges were revealed. The ANC Youth League (ANCYL) made a statement on Wednesday that called on Manana "to follow his conscience and do the honourable thing, and resign from his positions in the ANC and Parliament". The Minister in the Presidency Responsible for Women and ANC Women's League president, Bathabile Dlamini, responded to the allegations by denouncing "any form of violence against women under whatever circumstances". ANCYL spokesperson Mlondi Mkhize's statement reads that the ANCYL "wishes to join many leading South African voices in condemning the unrepentant behaviour of Manana. Manana's behaviour or actions are not only in direct opposite of the ANC's values, principles and revolutionary morality, but they are unjustifiable, barbaric and inhumane."
An investigation into both claims are still underway. See the coverage from Eye Witness News below.