Zuma reacts to Manana assault allegations

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President Jacob Zuma addressing representatives of youth organisations and Committee of Deputy Ministers to kick-start National Youth Month

JOHANNESBURG – President Jacob Zuma says he is disturbed by Deputy higher education minister, Mduduzi Manana's allegations of assault on a woman.

Manana has been accused of being part of a group of men who kicked and punched three women at a popular Johannesburg nightspot in the early hours of Sunday morning.

He has since apologised for his actions.

“The South African Government has made violence against women a priority crime. Women have a right to safety and security and must not be attacked or abused by anyone, anywhere in the country, regardless of the position of the either the perpetrator or victim. South Africa must be safe for all women," said Zuma.

EXCLUSIVE: Victim of alleged assault by deputy minister Manana speaks

Minister of Women in the Presidency, Susan Shabangu, condemned the alleged assault and urged police to take action against him.

Shabangu said she had listened to a sound clip circulated on social media, purported to be Manana’s admission to slapping the woman. “In the clip, Manana is heard telling [victim's name omitted] brother that he slapped her for identifying him as a member of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersexed (LGBTI) community. We are also aware that an assault case has been opened, and that SABC journalist, Lumko Jimlongo, has made a statement to the effect of witnessing the incident. We are proud of Lumko and condemn those who stood by and watched,” Shabangu said in a statement.

Meanwhile, the Department of Higher Education and Training said it had noted the allegations against Manana.

“Whilst the matter may not be directly related to DHET business, the Department also recognises the significance of these reports particularly within the context of Women’s Month and the national call for the validation for gender equality and the rights of women in a non-violent society,” the department said in a statement.

- Additional reporting: African News Agency