LHR rejects normalisation of violence against women

Date: 07/08/2017

Lawyers for Human Rights (LHR) is shocked to learn that Deputy Minister of Higher Education, Mduduzi Manana, allegedly assaulted two women in a Johannesburg nightclub on Sunday 6 August.

Reports indicate that Minister Manana followed the two women outside of the nightclub, after a heated political debate in which they disagreed. He has apparently admitted to the incident, and a voice recording seems to confirm that he indeed slapped one of the women.  Photographs of the resulting injuries sustained by one of the women have since been circulating on social media.

Today marks only the seventh day of national Women’s Month, and yet this is already the second news report of an assault on a woman in public. On Wednesday 2 August, six white men attacked and assaulted a black couple outside the KFC in Montana, Pretoria North. In video footage of the incident, the woman can be heard screaming and incredulously asking the attackers if they are going to hit her, a woman, as the attackers continued to hurl slurs at her.

“These events beggar belief. If anyone is in doubt about why we still need Women’s Month in 2017, this is it,” said Sanja Bornman, of the LHR Gender Equality Programme. She continued, “For a Deputy Minister to physically assault a woman under any circumstances is nothing short of vile. His actions show us just how normalised violence against women has become in South African society, and just how little we have come to expect from our leaders in their standard of conduct. We as LHR categorically condemn Minister Manana’s actions. We reject the normalisation of violence, and we expect the highest standards of moral and ethical probity and example from every one of our leaders. For this reason, we are calling for Minister Manana to immediately resign from his leadership position, as a man of this aggressive character is clearly unfit to lead.”

Jacob van Garderen, Director of LHR, said, “The events in the last few days clearly demonstrate the intersectional vulnerability of women – with black women in particular at risk not only of the every-day violence from men, but also of racially-motivated hate crime. As chair of the civil society Hate Crimes Working Group, LHR hopes that legislation to deal decisively with crime motivated by racism and other prejudices will be finalised and introduced in Parliament within the year.”

For more information contact:

Sanja Bornman 083 522 2933

Carol Mohlala 079 238 9826

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