Police Minister Fikile Mbalula says Deputy Minister Mduduzi Manana had abused alcohol before assaulting Mandisa Duma in a nightclub on Sunday.
Briefing journalists in Parliament on Thursday, Mbalula said the primary cause of the assault was alcohol, as it is in many cases of assaults in the country, especially over weekends.
The Police Minister said he first learnt of the incident on social media and also confirmed that Manana communicated with him after the incident went viral.
“It’s a matter of saying it wasn’t him, it was the people he was with but I’m not an investigator and our discussion stopped at that point, until today. After I learnt about the incident, I did not continue communicating with him,” he said.
He also used the opportunity to explain why the police have not arrested Manana over the crime, despite the deputy minister being caught in a video beating the woman.
In response, Mbalula said he’s aware that citizens have called for the case to be treated as serious and urgent due to the identity of the perpetrator. He, however, said the police can only take action against Manana after they have “first obtained witness statements”.
On Sunday morning, the deputy minister lost his cool inside the Cubana restaurant after an argument on who should succeed President Jacob Zuma at the party’s elective conference in December turned sour.
What actually led to the assault was when one of the women called him gay. One the victims, Mandisa Duma sustained a black eye‚ bruised knees and a swollen face and neck.
Duma later opened a case of assault with intent to cause grievous bodily harm at the Douglasdale Police station the same day. She further claimed that while walking out, Manana also slapped her cousin across the face before turning on her in the parking lot.
Meanwhile, Mduduzi Manana made his first court appearance today in the Randburg Magistrate’s court. He was slammed with two charges of assault with intent to cause grievous bodily harm.
Clad in a blue suit‚ white shirt and brown shoes‚ Manana avoided the media and looked very nervous all through. State prosecutor Yusuf Baba asked magistrate Liesel Davids to allow the media cover the proceedings but Manana’s defence lawyer Michael Motsoeneng Bill opposed the request.
The 34-year-old was later released on R5,000 bail. He was told not have any contact with witnesses. He will appear again in court on September 13.