Manana: No place to hide

Last Sunday evening an injured Mandisa Duma told City Press she had learnt that Mduduzi Manana was trying to reach her family to convince them to drop the charges she had laid against him.

But the woman, who is the niece of ANC presidential hopeful Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, was adamant she would do nothing of the sort.

“I won’t withdraw the charges. I am doing this to be the voice of other women who have been assaulted and who are afraid to speak out,” she said.

This week, Duma (30) stuck to her guns as Manana appeared in the Randburg Magistrates’ Court on Thursday charged with two counts of assault with intent to do grievous bodily harm. Duma’s brother, Phesheya, rushed to court after being told of rumours that the case was going to be dropped. He said: “We are not dropping the charges at all. My sisters [referring to Duma and her cousin, Thando Mahlaba] are not for sale.”

The deputy minister picked on the wrong family, he said.

“Even if we were from a different financial background we wouldn’t have sold our souls to drop the charges,” Phesheya said.

History of assault accusations 

A family member who asked to not to be named told City Press that as a politician, the chances of Manana being convicted were slim, but they weren’t giving up.

“He is a politician and a connected man. It’s literally a battle of connected people,” said another relative who added that Dlamini-Zuma was also very angry about what had happened to her niece, but that there was little she could do.

Manana (34), wearing a navy-blue tailored suit and a white shirt, was granted R5 000 bail. He was in a jovial mood, greeting and smiling at supporters in the public gallery. His case was postponed to September 13 for further investigation.

Manana may receive his comeuppance this time, after twice being accused of assaulting women in Ermelo, where he owns a home in a luxury complex. In both cases, the women laid charges against him but there was no further action on both complaints.

Earlier this year, Rapport reported that Manana and his elderly neighbour Sybil Raulstone (67) filed criminal complaints against each other after she allegedly called him a “k*****” after she had complained about a noisy party, and he allegedly assaulted her.

Raulstone said he pushed her so hard she fell over and had to be hospitalised. Manana confirmed that he was racially abused but denied the assault. The docket was sent to the National Prosecuting Authority for a decision but nothing came of that matter.

This week TimesLive reported that Manana allegedly assaulted Zinhle Mokhohlane (22) and her aunt in a parking lot in Ermelo after which they laid charges against him. He laid charges against them too, after which both parties dropped their complaints. But the case has not yet been formally withdrawn.

Raulstone and other neighbours told Rapport this week that Manana regularly had “wild parties” on his visits to Ermelo, which take place a few times every month. At the parties there are usually only “young men and bodyguards”, said neighbours and workers in the complex.

Manana’s spokesperson Busiswa Gqangeni told City Press that Manana’s bail conditions doesn’t allow him to make contact with Duma directly.

Violent encounter

Last Sunday afternoon, Duma, her brother, father, cousin Thando Mahlaba and a friend were out at Cubana in Fourways. Phesheya and his father left earlier in the evening, leaving the three women at the venue.

In her statement before court, Duma said the drama started just before 3am with a “heated argument inside the club where we were all debating who should be the next president between Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma and Cyril Ramaphosa”.

Duma said Manana called the staff and his friends together so he could make a speech. Mahlaba took her phone out to take a video, and one of Manana’s friends asked her not to.

“Thando then asked that the deputy minister himself ask her to not take a video. The deputy minister turned around and shouted, ‘Do you know who we are?’ and asked us what we were doing at the restaurant because it was closed and we must leave. He called for security to escort us out and was shouting profanities. We got up from the table and proceeded to leave,” she said.

As they walked out, Mahlaba made a comment about Manana being gay, said Duma.

“The deputy minister turned around and slapped Thando, and pounced on her and pulled her by her hair, and a friend of his proceeded to assault her by hitting and slapping her as well, while others managed to get me outside the restaurant,” Duma said.

Duma said their friend, Thina Mapipa, went in to intervene and both of them ended up outside the restaurant, and “they were assaulting us”.

Duma alleged that Manana attacked Mapipa, slapped and threw her to the ground, and “his friends continued to attack me”.

Duma sustained injuries to her neck and ears, and was left with a swollen eye.

It is unclear why, although Duma alleged that Manana assaulted her and the two other women, he was only facing two charges of serious assault.

On Tuesday, Manana admitted in a statement that he had “slapped a girl” and apologised for it, but added that there was “extreme provocation”.